Skin Cancer Signs to Pay Attention toMost skin cancers start and are indicated by changes to your skin. These are some possible skin cancer signs that you need to heed. A New Growth– If there is a new growth that is noticeable and fast growing, it may be precancerous or an indication of abnormality.Most people do not normally develop new moles after the age of 30, and growths developed thereafter should be observed closely. Other cancers may present as nodules under the skin that are usually firm and may shiny or red, with or without pain. It is important to have all new growths examined by a medical professional. Scaliness or Scaly Patches– The development of scaly, crusty patch is oftentimes an indication of a precancerous lesion called actinic keratosis (AK). These are mostly seen on skin that has soaked up too many UV sunrays and been badly damaged as a result. Actinic keratosis lesions are precursors to squamous cell carcinoma, which is the second most common form of skin cancer in the United States. Changes to an Existing Growth– Any change to an existing mole or other growth in size, elevation, color, shape or any other trait is highly suspect. Spreading pigment is also an indication. Commonly used are the “ABCD” guidelines for changes that may be skin cancer signs. (These warning signs may be present in new growths as well)
- A– Asymmetry- Asymmetry happens when one half of a mole or spot is different than the other. A benign mole is not asymmetrical.
- B– Border Irregularity- An irregular edge, or border, that is poorly defined (may be notched or scalloped). A benign mole will have smooth, well defined, even borders.
- C– Color Variation- Inconsistent coloring within the mole, with a variety of shades and colors. A benign mole will be one color, malignant growths may be different shades of tan, black, white, brown, red or even blue.
- D– Diameter- A general rule of thumb is anything larger than a pencil eraser (¼ in) should be examined.