Many cancers present with obvious symptoms such as lumps, pain, and sickness. When it comes to skin cancer, the early signs aren’t always as easy to pick up on. Skin cancer can be very slow growing and warning signs may be missed, which can impact early detection.
The good news is you shouldn’t worry. When it comes to skin cancer, there are a few important signs you can watch for that will let you know if it’s time to call the doctor. While these signs don’t definitively mean you have cancer, it is a good idea to come in for a checkup. At the Dermatology & Cosmetic Laser Center in Huntington, NY, we can evaluate your symptoms to determine if you may need further examination.
Melanoma vs. Non-melanoma skin cancer
Melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer, but is also the rarest. types such as squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma are both more common. Melanoma skin cancers begin in melanocytes, which are in the deepest layers of the skin. Other types are found in the upper and middle layers of skin.
Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer because it often spreads to other organs. Other types are much less likely to spread and can often be treated with simple surgical excisions.
For this article, we are going to discuss the early signs of melanoma.
Melanoma appears in two ways:
- As a new spot or growth
- Change to an existing mole
Normal (benign moles) are often small, even in color and do not change. Melanoma moles are classified using the ABCDE method which stands for:
A – Asymmetry: Melanomas are often not symmetrical
B – Borders: Melanomas typically have irregular borders
C – Color: Melanomas may have multiple colors
D – Diameter: Melanomas are often bigger (the size of a pencil eraser or larger)
E – Evolution: Melanomas often go through changes
While moles are normal, it’s important to call your dermatologist if you notice any of the ABCDE characteristics, or if you feel like something just looks a little “off.”