End-of-summer skin cancer check

Archive, Month, September

The end of the summer is a great time to self-check for signs of skin cancer.

There was plenty of sun over this Michigan summer.

Spending time in that sun exposes everyone — and their skin — to a potentially harmful amount of UV (ultraviolet) rays.

Even though skin may be layered with sunscreen, there’s still a chance for skin damage.

Self-exams

Knowing the signs and symptoms of skin cancer is critical to catching the disease early and receiving treatment while it’s in its earliest stage.

 

When performing a self-exam, here are the signs to look out for:

  • Unusual moles, sores, lumps, blemishes, markings, or changes in the way an area of the skin looks or feels
  • Rough or scaly red patches, which might crust or bleed
  • Raised growths or lumps, sometimes with a lower area in the center
  • Open sores (which may have oozing or crusted areas) that do not heal, or that heal and then come back
  • Wart-like growths
  • Dark or pigmented skin lesions with irregular edges or color change

Melanoma

The Skin Cancer Foundation gives some additional signs to look out for that may indicate melanoma.

Melanoma is a less common type of skin cancer that is more likely to spread to lymph nodes and other organs of the body.

The signs are called the ABCDEs of melanoma:

A – Asymmetry: One half of a mole or spot does not match the other half.

B – Border: The outside edge is irregular, ragged, or scalloped, and not smooth.

C – Color: The color of the mole is not the same all over. There can be shades of black, brown, white, blue or red.

D – Diameter or Dark: The area is larger than an eraser on the end of a pencil (6mm) or the area is getting larger. Also, if the lesion is darker than others, this may be a sign of skin damage or cancer.

E – Evolving: Any changes or any new symptoms can be a warning sign.

View the types of skin cancer from the American Cancer Society here.

Take any concerns to a physician attention, to allow him or her to examine the area, run tests if needed and potentially make a referral to a specialist.