Navigating Your Way Through Common Women's Health Issues

3 Early Signs of Skin Cancer You Should Never Ignore

Skin cancer is a condition characterised by the uncontrolled growth and multiplication of skin cells. There are three types of skin cancer: BCC, which stands for basal cell carcinoma; SCC, which is squamous cell carcinoma; and melanoma. Skin cancer is thought to be caused mostly by exposure to the UV rays of the sun. Some other cancers are thought to be caused by other conditions, which makes it necessary to get tested early and start treatment when cancer is detected. Each of the three types of cancer has its own symptoms, which is why it is essential to understand some of the earliest signs of skin cancer.

First Signs of Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinomas are common in parts of the skin that have been damaged by excessive exposure to the sun. They commonly develop on the face, neck, backs of the hands and lower legs. They are characterised by skin that looks scaly, having hard and crusty scabs, which may feel tender and even bleed at times.

Early Signs of Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinomas normally affect parts of the skin which are often exposed to the sun. You are, therefore, likely to develop BCC on your face, arms and neck. BCC is characterised by a smooth pearly appearance of the skin and a waxy feeling. It is also common to develop a huge red lump with a sunken middle. People with darker skin complexions may notice a dark lump which is sometimes sore, itchy or bleeds. Most of these scars and lumps start healing but never quite heal despite being well treated. Painless ulcers are also another common sign that you are developing BCC.

First Symptoms of Melanoma

Melanomas are the trickiest to diagnose because they can develop anywhere on the body. Sometimes, they even develop on moles and other pre-existing skin defects. The early signs that you are developing melanoma include getting a large brown mole with darker spots, painful itchy lesions and dark lesions on palms, soles and other hard parts of the skin.

Other rare skin cancer types include Kaposi sarcoma, sebaceous gland carcinoma and Merkel Cell Carcinoma. The crucial thing about skin cancer is ensuring that you do skin checks at least once in a year. This is the only opportunity you will get for a diagnosis and start treatment. When cancer is caught in the early stages, it is easy to manage and treat.