The most common type of cancer, skin cancer affects more than 3.5 million Americans every year. The American Cancer Society recommends annual screening for skin cancer to make sure any incidences are detected early. Prompt action prevents growth or spread of the disease, so it is wise to see a dermatologist if you notice any unusual or significant changes in your skin.
The term “skin cancer” refers to three different conditions:
- basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
- squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
- malignant melanoma
BCC and SCC are referred to as non-melanoma skin cancers and are the most common forms of skin cancer. They are rarely life-threatening, but can be locally destructive to tissue. Melanoma is generally the most serious form of cancer because it can metastasize (or spread) throughout our body quickly.
If you notice any of the following, see your skin expert at Trillium Creek Dermatology.
- An open sore that bleeds, oozes, or crusts and does not heal after two weeks.
- A pink or red patch of skin that is scaly or flaky, may itch or hurt, and that persists for more than a few weeks.
- A pink or pearly translucent bump or nodule that may develop tiny blood vessels on its surface.
- A persistent, scaly, red patch that sometimes crusts or bleeds.
- A wart-like growth that enlarges within weeks with a central indentation.
- A raised, rough patch of skin that bleeds from minor scratching or rubbing.
- Asymmetry. If you draw a line through a mole, both halves should match.
- Border. The borders of a melanoma may become uneven, scalloped or notched.
- Color. Melanoma will often be much darker than other moles or have a variety of colors both darker and light mixed together. Rarely melanomas can be pink or red.
- Diameter. Usually melanomas are larger than a pencil eraser, or ¼ of an inch. They may be smaller if detected early.
- Evolving. Any change in a mole – in size, shape, color or elevation – should prompt an evaluation by a dermatologist.
Prevention and Treatment of Skin Cancer
When people encounter moles, cysts, skin tags, and birthmarks, they may be worried about cancer growth or something more severe than a primary skin lesion. Our dermatologists can determine the severity of such marks on your skin.Learn More