May is National Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. It serves as a reminder to everyone that early detection and prevention are key to reducing your risk and fighting skin cancer.
Skin cancer, or melanoma, is common. However, the physical signs of skin cancer often become visible on the surface of the skin in early stages of the disease. If detected early, skin cancer can be successfully treated in most cases.
Skin cancers are grouped into two categories: melanoma and nonmelanoma. Melanoma progresses much faster than nonmelanomas and can potentially spread beneath the skin to other parts of the body. Although most nonmelanomas progress slowly, it is still important to speak to your doctor about any abnormal changes on your skin.
Signs and symptoms of skin cancer
- Any change in an existing mole
- Dark, multicolored spot with irregular borders
- A mole or spot that bleeds and scabs over
- A cluster of shiny, firm bumps
- A mole larger than a pencil eraser
Nonmelanomas (Basal cell carcinoma)
- A flesh-colored bump
- A reddish or dark patch of skin
- An oval bump that develops into a bleeding ulcer
Nonmelanomas (Squamous cell carcinoma)
- A firm, red, wart-like bump that grows slowly
- A flat spot that develops into a bleeding sore
Treatment options for skin cancer
- Surgery to remove the entire malignant spot
- Radiation therapy
- Photodynamic therapy—using laser light to stop cancer cells