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What Does Skin Cancer Look Like?

Skin cancer is a dangerous disease that can be life-threatening if it goes untreated.  When skin cancer is caught early it is much easier to treat, so it’s important to know what skin cancer looks like, so you can spot the signs and symptoms early.

What Is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer is the irregular growth of skin cells, and generally occurs in areas of the body exposed to the sun.  The most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma.  Melanoma is considered the most serious type of skin cancer because of its ability to spread quickly to other organs.

What Does Skin Cancer Look Like?

Skin cancer often develops from moles and other types of growths on the skin, so it’s important to pay attention to changes to existing moles.  

BCC and SCC appear as raised areas of skin that are scaly, crusted, and shiny, and they sometimes ooze.  Melanoma is usually black, brown, or multi-colored. 

The ‘ABCDE’ rule is a helpful guide when looking for warning signs of melanoma.

  • A For Asymmetry

A normal mole is symmetrical, which means that both sides are the same, but when a mole is asymmetric the two sides don’t match.    

  • B For Border

Normal moles have well-defined borders, but abnormal moles have blurred, uneven borders. 

  • C For Color

Moles that change color or have multiple colors should be checked out by a dermatologist. 

  • D For Diameter

Moles that are bigger than1/4 inch in diameter should also be evaluated. 

  • E For Evolution

Changes in the shape, size, or color of a mole may be a warning sign of skin cancer.

Would you like to learn more about skin cancer?  Search our directory to find a practice in your area.

If you are in the Sierra Vista AZ area, Cochise Oncology, is our featured practice.

You can reach them at www.cochiseoncology.com, or by calling 520-803-6644.

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