Your chances of avoiding surgery or, in the case of a major melanoma or other skin cancer, significant deformity or even death, are better the earlier a skin cancer is found and treated.
It is also a good idea to discuss your level of risk with your doctor and ask for tips on early detection.
Understanding your skin and what is typical for you will help you spot any changes. Skin malignancies are rarely painful and are typically seen rather than felt.
Make it a habit to regularly check your skin for new lesions and changes to freckles or moles that are already there.
Types of Skin Cancer:
- Most deadly form of skin cancer
- If left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body
- Appears as a new spot or an existing spot that changes in colour, size or shape
- Can appear on skin not normally exposed to the sun.
- Grows quickly
- Looks different from common melanomas. Raised and even in colour
- Many are red or pink; some are brown or black
- They are firm to touch and dome-shaped
- After a while, they begin to bleed and crust.
Basal cell carcinoma
- Most common, least dangerous form of skin cancer.
- Red, pale or pearly in colour, appears as a lump or dry, scaly area.
- May ulcerate or fail to completely heal.
- Grows slowly, usually on areas that are often exposed to the sun.
Squamous cell carcinoma
- A thickened, red scaly spot that may bleed easily, crust or ulcerate.
- Grows over some months, usually on areas often exposed to the sun.
- More likely to occur in people over 50 years of age.
The ABCDE of melanoma detection can be a useful guide when checking your skin.