The three main types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell are non-malignant, slow-growing cancers of the skin. Melanoma is a malignant and grows quite fast. Among other skin cancer forms are Kaposi's sarcoma and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma of the skin. Most basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers can be cured if found and treated early.
A change on the skin is the most common sign of skin cancer. This may be a new growth, a sore that doesn't heal, or a change in an old growth. Not all skin cancers look the same. The ABCD technique is used for the diagnosis of skin cancer.
A stands for Asymmetry
Common moles are symmetrical, but those suggestive of skin cancer are not. When you look at the mole on your body, check them for asymmetry. Divide the mole in your mind through the centre of the mole and see if the sides match. Not all asymmetrical moles lead to skin cancer, but examining them on a frequent basis is a good first step in identifying trouble areas.
B stands for Border
The common moles have a clear, smooth border between the darkened mole and lighter skin. Look for the borders of each mole or dark spot closely. If the mole appears notched, uneven or feathered, it could be skin cancer.
C stands for Colour
Common moles appear in a range of colour, from light tan to dark brown. The coloration of moles suggestive of skin cancer appear in several different colours. Different shades of brown, tan and black in a single darkened area are a sign of skin cancer. Moles could also be blue, red or white.
D stands for Diameter
The moles suggestive of skin cancer grow fairly rapidly from a small patch to bigger patch. If you suspect that a mole is growing, make an appointment to see your doctor for further examination.
Sometimes skin cancer is painful, but usually it is not. Checking your skin for new growths or other changes is a good idea. A guide for checking your skin is below. Keep in mind that changes are not a sure sign of skin cancer. Still, you should report any changes to your health care provider right away. You may need to see a dermatologist, a doctor who has special training in the diagnosis and treatment of skin problems.
Even if you have been taking care and are vigilant about sun safety, it is important to check your skin regularly. Early detection of skin cancer offers an improved chance of successful treatment and cure.
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