Widely recognised as one of the most common forms of cancer in the world, skin cancer can be readily treated if diagnosed early. With that in mind, it is vital to recognise symptoms of skin cancer as soon as possible in order to secure the best chance of recovery. There are two forms of skin cancer, melanoma and non-melanoma and the symptoms of each are detailed below in the hope of encouraging quick recognition and speedy diagnosis.
Melanoma is a faster spreading and dangerous disease that can be fatal if not quickly diagnosed. Symptoms of this form of cancer usually include the appearance of a new mole on the skin or a change in the appearance of an existing mole. Changes to be aware of should include:
– Increase in the size of a mole
– The mole changing colour
– The mole becoming more raised or bleeding
– Painful moles
Normal moles are usually recognised as having been on the body since childhood, are round in shape and have a smooth edge. A normal mole would not normally exceed a diameter of a quarter of an inch. The most common place to find a mole is on the legs, back, neck or face though it is important to know that melanoma can occur anywhere on the body.
Non-melanoma refers to the more common type of skin cancer and is much slower at spreading than melanoma. The most common symptom of non-melanoma skin cancer is a lump or change on the skin that is new and does not disappear within a few weeks. Other symptoms include discoloured patches on the skin, red or pink lumps or bumps that bleed readily or have a crusty edge. It is important to seek medical advice if any of these symptoms occur in order to ensure a quick and reliable diagnosis.
Treatment for Skin Cancer
Diagnosis of skin cancer is likely to be made quickly and your GP will readily review any concerning areas of skin for you. Referral to a dermatologist may be required and a skin biopsy is likely to be necessary in order to determine whether cancerous cells are present. Treatment for skin cancer varies from surgery, chemotherapy, creams and radiotherapy.
Preventing Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is not always preventable, however extensive research has suggested that UV rays are incredibly harmful to the skin and likely to increase the risk of skin cancer developing. With that in mind, it is essential to follow skin care guidelines, minimise exposure to sun and always protect your skin when exposed to rays.