About Skin Cancer
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. About one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in his or her lifetime.
Skin cancer occurs when skin tissue grows at an uncontrollable rate and forms a tumor. Some tumors form a circular pattern while others have irregular extensions that are not always apparent to the sight or touch. Some extensions grow on the skin’s surface, but others may invade muscle, fat, connective tissue and even bone beneath the inner layers of skin.
Signs of Skin Cancer
Any growth or mark on the skin that has changed or grown in size may indicate the presence of skin cancer. If you detect any of the following, you should be promptly examined:
- A new growth on the skin that does not disappear in four to six weeks.
- Any growing skin lesion that turns pearly, translucent, brown, black or multicolored.
- A mole, birthmark or beauty mark that increases in size, changes color or texture or becomes irregular in outline.
- An open sore or wound that refuses to heal, persists for more than four weeks or heals and later reopens.
- Any spot or growth that continues to itch, hurt, crust over, form a scab, erode or bleed for several weeks. Many skin growths may look like skin cancer, but not all are malignant. Any suspicious-looking growth should be evaluated by a dermatologist.
The ABCDE Signs of Melanoma
Asymmetry — One half of a mole or new patch of pigment doesn’t look like the other half.
Border — A mole or pigment patch that has uneven, blotched or fuzzy edges.
Color — A mole or pigment patch with more than one color or shade.
Diameter — A mole or pigment patch with a diameter greater than a quarter inch.
Evolving — A mole or lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.
To learn more about the three types of skin cancer.
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