Skin Cancer Warning Signs

  • Moles that change, are irregularly shaped, or have many different colors
  • Spots on the skin that appear unlike other areas of the skin
  • Sores that do not heal
  • Spread of coloring from the border of a spot onto the surrounding skin

Ways to Keep Skin Safe

  • Use sun screen with SPF 50 or above and reapply every 30 minutes.
  • Don’t use tanning beds.
  • Wear hats and protective clothing with an SPF rating when in the sun.
  • Wear sunglasses with total UV protection.
  • Stay out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Check your skin regularly for signs of skin cancer.
  • Use cosmetics and contact lenses with total UV protection.

What to Look for with Basal Cell Carcinoma

One of the most common skin cancers, basal cell carcinoma, can cause disfigurement through local aggressive invasion. This cancer runs in families with fair-skinned individuals. It can be superficial or invasive. Topical chemotherapy can be used to treat the non-invasive form. Basal cell carcinoma usually presents as a shiny, pearly skin nodule. Sometimes it's a red patch, like eczema. Skin thickening and scar tissue can occur at the site of the cancer. The cancer is diagnosed with a skin biopsy under local anesthesia. Excision, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, and special medications can all be used to treat basal cell carcinoma. See your dermatologist if you think you have any signs of this illness.

Skin Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

Unusual skin growths with dark areas, irregular margins, and thickening of the skin should be evaluated by a dermatologist. A biopsy may be performed to look at the cell structure of the skin to be sure it is not precancerous or cancerous. The biopsy of a suspected area of unusual skin can lead to early diagnosis and treatment. Melanoma and basal cell carcinoma are the most serious types of skin cancer. Your doctor can treat these cancers with surgery, immunotherapy, vaccine treatments, and special immunotherapy drugs. Sometimes radiation is used to treat the area of affected skin to help eliminate the cancer.