Early signs of skin cancer according to the dermatologist

Signs of Skin Cancer

Early signs of skin cancer according to the dermatologist

Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of Cancer globally, with millions of new cases diagnosed every year. However, when detected early, it is highly treatable. Understanding the early signs of skin cancer is crucial for everyone, as it can help you seek prompt medical attention and increase the chances of successful treatment. In this article, we will delve into the insights provided by dermatologists on the early signs of skin cancer. Whether you have a history of skin cancer in your family or you just want to be proactive about your skin health, this information is invaluable.

Understanding Skin Cancer

Before looking at the early symptoms, it's important to understand the basics of skin cancer. Skin cancer develops when there is abnormal growth of skin cells, usually caused by damage from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. There are three types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Melanoma is the most aggressive form and can spread rapidly if not treated promptly.

The Importance of Early Detection

Early identification of skin cancer is crucial for successful therapy. When skin cancer is detected in the early stages, it is curable with various treatment options available. However, if left untreated, it can metastasize to other parts of the body, making it more difficult to treat and potentially life-threatening. Regular self-examinations and visits to a dermatologist can significantly increase the chances of early detection.

Common Early Signs of Skin Cancer

Dermatologists play an important role in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer. They stress the importance of being alert to changes in your skin and seeking their expertise if you notice any concerning symptoms. Here are some early symptoms of skin cancer that dermatologists want you to be aware of:

1. Unusual Moles

  • Asymmetry: If one half of a mole does not match the other half.
  • Irregular Borders: Moles with uneven, blurred, or jagged edges.
  • Color Changes: Moles that have multiple colors or have changed in color over time.
  • Diameter: Moles larger than the size of a pencil eraser (about 6mm or 1/4 inch).
  • Evolving: Moles that have changed in size, shape, or texture.

2. New Growth or Sore

  • Any new growth, soreness, or spot on your skin that doesn't heal within a few weeks could be a cause for concern.
  • Pay attention to persistent scaly patches, open sores, or raised lumps.

3. Changes in Existing Moles: Dermatologists advise closely monitoring any changes in existing moles, such as itching, bleeding, or a mole becoming elevated. Keep an eye out for moles that get larger or take on a lumpy appearance.

4. Red Flags for Melanoma

Dermatologists often use the ABCDE rule to identify possible melanomas:
  1. Asymmetry: One half of the mole does not match the other.
  2. Border irregularity: Edges of the mole are not smooth.
  3. Color variation: Multiple colors within the mole.
  4. Diameter: Larger than a pencil eraser.
  5. Evolving: Any changes in size, shape, or color over time.

5. Non-healing or Bleeding Lesions: Skin sores or growths that bleed, ooze, or do not heal should be evaluated by a dermatologist.

6. Dark Streaks or Lines Under Nails: Changes in the appearance of nails, such as dark stripes or lines, may indicate a form of skin cancer called subungual melanoma.

7. Unexplained Itching or Pain: Persistent itching, pain, or tenderness in an area of your skin can be a sign of skin cancer.

8. Family History: If you have a family history of skin cancer, you may be at higher risk of getting cancer. Dermatologists recommend regular check-ups in such cases.

When to See a Dermatologist

If you notice any of the above symptoms or are concerned about any changes in your skin, it is essential to make an appointment with a dermatologist immediately. Additionally, dermatologists recommend regular skin checkups, especially if you have risk factors such as fair skin, a history of sunburn, or a family history of skin cancer. Here are some guidelines for when to see a dermatologist:

1. Annual skin exams are advisable for individuals with a history of skin cancer.

2. If you notice any concerning changes in your skin, don't wait. Schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

3. If you have a family history of skin cancer, discuss your risk factors with a dermatologist and set up a monitoring plan.

Prevention Is Key

Although it is important to recognize the early symptoms of skin cancer, prevention should always be a priority. Dermatologists stress the importance of protecting your skin from UV radiation. Here are some preventative measures:

1. Sunscreen: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and reapply every two hours when outside.
2. Protective Clothing: Wear a wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt, and sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun.
3. Avoid Tanning Beds: UV radiation from tanning beds is dangerous and should be avoided.
4. Seek Shade: Spend as little time as possible in direct sunlight, especially during peak hours.
5. Regular Self-Exams: Do monthly self-examination to monitor changes in your skin.
6. Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with skin cancer awareness and consult a dermatologist for any concerns.


Early detection of skin cancer is critical for successful treatment and better outcomes. Dermatologists play an important role in the diagnosis and management of skin cancer. By being aware of the early signs of skin cancer and taking preventative measures, you can protect your skin and reduce the risk of skin cancer. Remember, when it comes to skin health, knowledge, and proactive care are your best allies in the fight against skin cancer.

Read more



Ques 1. How quickly does skin cancer spread?

Ans 1. Skin cancer's spread rate varies based on the cancer type and individual factors. Basal cell carcinoma usually grows slowly and is less likely to spread. Squamous cell carcinoma can spread faster than basal cell but is slower than melanoma, which is the most aggressive and can rapidly spread to other organs if not detected and treated promptly. 

Ques 2. How does your body feel when you have skin cancer?

Ans 2. Skin cancer may not always cause noticeable physical symptoms in its early stages. However, as it progresses, you may experience various symptoms such as changes in the appearance of moles or skin lesions, itching, bleeding, pain, or the development of ulcers. These symptoms can vary depending on the type and stage of skin cancer. If you notice any unusual changes in your skin, it's essential to seek medical advice.

Ques 3. What are the red flags of skin cancer?

Ans 3. Red flags for skin cancer include:

1. Changes in the size, shape, or color of moles or skin lesions.

2. Moles or growths that become painful, itchy, or start bleeding.

3. The appearance of new moles or growths, especially after age 30.

4. Irregular borders or asymmetry in the shape of a mole.

5. Moles larger than a pencil eraser (about 6 mm or 1/4 inch).

6. Moles or spots that are multicolored or have an uneven color distribution.

7. Rapid growth of a mole or lesion.

8. Any wound that looks significantly different from others on your skin.

If you notice any of these red flags, it's crucial to consult a dermatologist or healthcare professional.

Ques 4. What are the three main types of skin cancer symptoms?

Ans 4. The three main types of skin cancer are:

1. Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC): Symptoms often include pearly or waxy bumps, flat, flesh-colored or brown lesions, and sometimes, sores that continuously heal and reopen.

2. Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC): Symptoms may include scaly red patches, open sores that may crust or bleed, elevated growths with a central depression, or warts that may bleed or crust.

3. Melanoma: Symptoms involve changes in moles or the appearance of new pigmented lesions. Look for irregularly shaped moles, moles with uneven coloring (variations in shades of brown, black, or other colors), and moles larger than a pencil eraser.

Ques 5. How quickly does Melanoma spread?

Ans 5. Melanoma, if left untreated, can spread rapidly to other parts of the body. The rate of spread can vary among individuals and depends on factors like the thickness of the melanoma, its location, and how early it is detected. Thin melanomas that are caught and treated in their early stages are less likely to spread quickly, while thicker melanomas are more aggressive and can metastasize (spread) to lymph nodes and other organs relatively quickly. Early detection through regular skin checks and timely medical intervention is crucial for effectively managing melanoma and preventing its rapid spread.

No comments:

Post a Comment