Every illness has symptoms. You know you’re getting a cold when you begin to sniffle and sneeze. You fear the beginnings of an infection when your throat or ear begins to hurt badly. Skin cancer has telltale warning signs too. Many people barely notice them, or if they do, explain them away.
Left untreated, skin cancer will only worsen over time. Advanced dermatology in San Diego, CA, urges you to know the warning signs and seek a professional assessment if you find anything questionable. Unlike your cold, skin cancer can be cured with early detection.
The challenge with early symptoms is they can mimic an number of other age related issues as you get older. Moreover, not all precancerous skin lesions progress to a cancerous state.
- Fair Skin – If you have fair skin, blond or red hair, and blue or green eyes, you are the most susceptible to skin cancer over time. Call your dermatologist early and often when you see suspicious patches.
- Olive Skin – Because of your darker complexion, you may not be as aware of changes in your skin. Do a monthly check for any patches that have appeared, look different, or have grown.
- Dark Skin – Due to the consistently dark nature your skin, you may not be able to effectively do a self-exam. Schedule an annual checkup with a dermatologist in San Diego, CA.
If you have moles, chances are you are very aware of them, especially if they are on your face and neck. Moles are not inherently bad. In fact, very few moles become cancerous. The moles that do develop into potential melanomas share these traits:
- Contain more than one color
- Are irregularly shaped
- Have a diameter larger than the size of a pencil eraser
- Appeared after adulthood
- Have grown or changed over time
- Becomes “blistered” or itches, oozes, or bleeds
Types of Skin Cancer
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
This appears as a red bump, or nodule, most often on the nose, forehead, or lip. It is easily removed, and treated, if caught early.
Melanoma, a group of cancerous cells, always begin as a non-melanoma skin lesion. Caught early, it is easily treatable.
Scaly, reddish patches that spread on your skin. This is a cancer that spreads on the outside of the epidermis. It is often misdiagnosed for other dermatological issues like eczema, psoriasis, or fungal rashes, so if you aren’t sure, get a second opinion at dermatology in San Diego, CA.
Basal Cell Carcinoma
This is the most common issue treated by dermatologists. It occurs primarily in adults and, when diagnosed early, is the easiest to treat and cure.
Whatever your skin tone, be sure to practice proactive self-care by doing a skin evaluation monthly at home, and scheduling an annual exam with dermatology in San Diego, CA.