The main skin cancer signs are lesions, discolorations, or growths on the skin. Each form of skin cancer has a different appearance. Basal cell carcinoma manifests as a pearly, raised bump, usually located on areas that receive a lot of sun, such as the face, neck, and shoulders. Squamous cell skin cancer appears to be a red, scaly bit of skin, also located in areas that are exposed to sunlight. Melanomas look like black or brown spots. These areas often appear and change quickly; they are sometimes associated with a new mole or growth. Skin cancer symptoms also include itchiness, pain, and bleeding in the affected area. Despite these general guidelines, skin cancers can have very different appearances in different cases, so those who find strange growths or marks on their skin should seek professional medical opinion regardless of how it fits or doesn’t fit these descriptions.
Generally, strange growths and marks can be classified by four factors: asymmetry, irregular borders, color, and diameter.
Treatment for skin cancer resembles that of other cancers. Basal and squamous cell cancers are very treatable. Depending on the severity of the case, a number of options are available, including surgery (scraping or removal of the lesion), radiation, skin creams, and freezing. In many cases, little scarring will result from the treatment and the patient should be totally cured. Melanoma is much more difficult to treat. If the melanoma is caught early, surgery may be effective. If it is well developed and/or spread to other areas in the body, chemotherapy may be useful, but at this stage the cancer is usually not curable.
Skin cancer is very preventable. Since the sun is a main cause of the disease, clothes, hats, and sunglasses should be worn to block the sun’s rays, and at least SPF 30 sunscreen should be applied to bare skin. Individuals who work outside, older individuals, those with light complexions, and those with genetic predispositions should take special care in the sun, but everyone should limit their exposure to the sun as much as possible.
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