Top Warning Signs of Skin Cancer

As a premier cancer treatment and care center serving the greater Phoenix area, we understand the importance of prevention and early diagnosis in cancer treatment – and that’s what makes May such a special month. May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and as skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, knowing the early signs is critical to improving your long-term chances of detecting, treating, and beating skin cancer. At Palo Verde Cancer Specialists, we’re committed to the health of our patients and the community of Phoenix – and spreading awareness of the warning signs of skin cancer is the best way to fight it.

Risk Factors for Skin Cancer

Before learning the warning signs, it’s good to get an understanding of what causes skin cancer so you can better understand your own risk. Chiefly, skin cancer is caused by long-term, cumulative exposure to the harsh UV rays in sunlight. Over time, these rays damage the DNA in your skin cells, and if that damage passes a certain threshold, it can morph into skin cancer. While you may think skin cancer is only something that lifelong sun worshippers deal with, the truth is, almost anyone can get it. While skin cancer will be more common in those who regularly expose their skin to sunlight without sunscreen for long periods of time, even small amounts of exposure to sunlight can, over time, build up and cause skin cancer.

Warning Signs of Skin Cancer

For the most part, skin cancer will prevent itself as a blemish, bump, or spot on the skin that may look similar to a mole or a wound. Non-melanoma skin cancers often take the form of an open sore that doesn’t heal for weeks, sometimes with raised edges, and sometimes with a crusty, scaly covering or persistent oozing or bleeding. Persistent, mysterious warts may also be early stages of skin cancer.

Melanoma-type skin cancer has an easy acronym for identification. To identify a melanoma, just remember your ABCDEs:

  • Asymmetry: Melanomas will usually be asymmetrical, with one side not matching the other.
  • Border: The border of a melanoma growth will be scraggly, splotchy, or uneven.
  • Color: Melanoma growths usually have multiple shades of color.
  • Diameter: Any mole with a diameter of more than 1/4″ (larger than a pencil eraser) may be a melanoma.
  • Evolving: If you notice a mole changing shape or growing in size, you’ll need to get it checked out.

Schedule an Appointment with Your Phoenix, AZ Cancer Treatment Specialists

Skin cancer of any form can be dangerous, but if it’s caught early and treated early on, it’s usually fairly simple to treat skin cancer. Knowing the signs and performing regular self-checks for skin cancer is the best way to spot cancers before they develop in severity, giving you the best chance of beating cancer in the long run. Feel free to reach out to us at our contact page if you have more questions about how to spot skin cancer, and if you or a loved one are every diagnosed with skin cancer or any other cancerous condition, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at one of our 6 cancer treatment facilities. We’ll work with you to design a comprehensive treatment that works with your lifestyle and helps you overcome cancer in a way that works for you. We hope you’ll take advantage of National Skin Cancer Awareness Month to learn the early signs of skin cancer, check yourself regularly, and safeguard your health in the long term.

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