Spotting skin cancer

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The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred. The color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue. The spot is larger than ¼ inch across – about the size of a pencil eraser – although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this.


Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of the three types of skin cancer. Even melanoma, the deadliest form, can usually be successfully treated if caught early. And remember, no matter what your age, minimizing your exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light will help reduce your risk of skin cancer and premature aging.
• Melanoma
Although melanoma can occur in normal skin, it often develops
in a pre-existing mole or other dark spot. Examine your moles and look for these ABCDs:
Asymmetry. One half of the mole doesn’t match the other half.
Border irregularity. The edges are often ragged, notched, blurred or irregular, and the pigment may spread into the surrounding skin.
Color. The mole may have shades of black, brown and tan, or areas of white, gray, red, pink or blue.
Diameter. Melanomas are typically larger than a pencil eraser, although early melanomas may be smaller.
Also look for changes in the surface of a mole, scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or the appearance of a bump, spread of pigment from the border into the surrounding skin, itchiness, tenderness, or pain.
• Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
This may appear as a small, raised, smooth, shiny or pearly bump that’s whitish to pink in color. Over time, it may crust, ulcerate and bleed. BCC is slow growing and rarely invades internal organs, but it can spread to nearby tissues if left untreated.
• Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
Most often this type of skin cancer appears as a raised, scaly,
crusty or wart-like bump, ranging in size from a pea to a chestnut. SCC can spread internally if left untreated.

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