Skin Cancer Warning Signs that You should not Ignore

No one likes to hear a cancer diagnosis of any type. However, in many cases, early detection of cancer will greatly increase the odds that your disease can be more effectively treated and cured. This is especially true of skin cancer, since most cases of this disease have a 99% cure rate when they are discovered early. Since the symptom of skin cancer is usually visible to the eye in the form of changes to moles or new developments on the surface of the skin, knowing the skin cancer warning signs can significantly help you in reducing your risk of this disease. And although the skin cancer warning signs can vary greatly from person to person and within the different types of skin cancer, there are some general guidelines that you can follow in determining when it is time to see your doctor.

Watch for Changes

The first type of skin cancer warning sign that you do not want to ignore is changes to current moles on your body. This means that if a mole grows in size, changes color or begins to bleed, you need to have your doctor check it out. Another type of change that can be a skin cancer warning sign is the development of a bump anywhere on your skin. This bump can be red, waxy or shiny, and will usually be firm or hard to the touch. Discolorations resembling lesions that develop suddenly should also be checked by your doctor, in addition to spots that are scaly or crusted. The best rule of thumb is to check your body regularly for any new marks or bumps, and see your doctor if any develop. Since it is typical for skin cancer to develop on the back as well, have a spouse or friend watch your back for skin cancer warning signs also.

Know your Risk Factors

In addition to recognizing skin cancer warning signs, you need to be aware of the risk factors of skin cancer and whether they apply to you. If you have fair skin, and an abundance of moles or freckles, this is a risk factor for skin cancer. It is a good idea to pay special attention to skin cancer warning signs if you fall into this category. It is also important to be vigilant of skin cancer warning signs if you have a family history of skin cancer, or if you suffer from an autoimmune disorder like lupus, since this puts you into a higher risk factor as well. Another cause for concern in sun exposure, since a history of sunburns greatly increases your chances of developing skin cancer at some point in your life. If you have any of these risk factors, it is even more essential that you watch your skin closely for any skin cancer warning signs, and see your doctor if you have any concerns.

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The Skin Cancer Foundation is the only international organization devoted solely to education, prevention, early detection, and prompt treatment of the world’s most common cancer.
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