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How Can Skin Cancer Be Detected

Basal Cell Carcinoma Squamous Cell Carcinoma Of The Skin And Actinic Keratosis Often Appear As A Change In The Skin

How to Detect Skin Cancer Using ABCDE Rule

Not all changes in the skin are a sign of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, or actinic keratosis. Check with your doctor if you notice any changes in your skin.

Signs of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin include the following:

  • A sore that does not heal.
  • Areas of the skin that are:
  • Raised, smooth, shiny, and look pearly.
  • Firm and look like a scar, and may be white, yellow, or waxy.
  • Raised and red or reddish-brown.
  • Scaly, bleeding, or crusty.

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin occur most often in areas of the skin exposed to the sun, such as the nose, ears, lower lip, or top of the hands.

Signs of actinic keratosis include the following:

  • A rough, red, pink, or brown, scaly patch on the skin that may be flat or raised.
  • Cracking or peeling of the lower lip that is not helped by lip balm or petroleum jelly.

Actinic keratosis occurs most commonly on the face or the top of the hands.

Skin Cancer Screenings: How Early Can Skin Cancer Be Detected

Skin cancer is difficult to prevent, given that sunlight is everywhere around us. But, it can be caught before it even becomes cancerespecially concerning actinic keratosis. Performing frequent self-evaluations and visiting your dermatologist for full skin exams is important. Your dermatologist can recognize symptoms far earlier than you might, given their expertise.

Melanoma isnt usually detected until its cancerous. Considering how fast melanoma can spread, theres really no other way to detect it than visually. If you have moles or a history of skin cancer, you should be getting frequent skin cancer screenings with your dermatologist to make sure that melanoma is diagnosed early and correctly. Skin cancer is more easily treated than other forms of cancer because it often gives itself away. If youre paying attention to your skin, and stay on the lookout for any changes it presents, youll be able to stop cancer before it has a chance to begin.

If you have suffered from skin cancer in the past, or prove to be at high risk for it, you should stay vigilant about the signs of skin cancer before it begins. If you want to take proactive steps to protect your skin, reach out to the experts at Northeast Dermatology Associates for a skin cancer screening.

Melanoma At Its Most Curable

Our authors recent research shows that melanoma in situ, the earliest form of the disease, is on the rise, especially among young men. Heres why this is bad news and good news, and what everyone needs to know to stay ahead of it.


Growing up in Texas, Jim was no stranger to sun exposure. A year-round athlete, he also spent many summers landscaping, and he was proud of his golden bronze tan. To achieve this look, he purposely burned during his first intense sun exposure in spring, thinking that would be a good start on maintaining a tan through the summer. He even frequented tanning salons during the winter to keep it going.

When Jims mother noticed a spot on his cheek shed never seen before, she pointed it out to him. It was dark brown, about the size of a pencil eraser, and it had an irregular shape. At first glance, it looked like a new freckle or mole. When it continued to grow, Jim became worried and visited a dermatologist. Just 29 years old, he was shocked when tests showed he had melanoma, a cancer that arises in the skins pigment-producing cells.

He was lucky, though. It was melanoma in situ: The tumor had not invaded beyond the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin. The earliest form of melanoma , it is the easiest to treat and almost always curable. If Jim had waited any longer before seeing the doctor, it could have been much worse.

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Skin Color And Being Exposed To Sunlight Can Increase The Risk Of Basal Cell Carcinoma And Squamous Cell Carcinoma Of The Skin

Anything that increases your chance of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer not having risk factors doesnt mean that you will not get cancer. Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk.

Risk factors for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin include the following:

  • Being exposed to natural sunlight or artificial sunlight over long periods of time.
  • Having a fair complexion, which includes the following:
  • Fair skin that freckles and burns easily, does not tan, or tans poorly.
  • Blue, green, or other light-colored eyes.
  • Red or blond hair.

Although having a fair complexion is a risk factor for skin cancer, people of all skin colors can get skin cancer.

  • Having a history of sunburns.
  • Having a personal or family history of basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, actinic keratosis, familial dysplastic nevussyndrome, or unusual moles.
  • Having certain changes in the genes or hereditary syndromes, such as basal cell nevus syndrome, that are linked to skin cancer.
  • Having skin inflammation that has lasted for long periods of time.
  • Having a weakened immune system.
  • Being exposed to arsenic.
  • Past treatment with radiation.
  • Older age is the main risk factor for most cancers. The chance of getting cancer increases as you get older.

    Recommends That You Contact Your Doctor If The Patient Generally Notices:

    Skin Cancer Signs? Self

    Abnormal mark on the bodya sore that does not healredness or swellingBleeding occurs in some parts of the skinSkin cancer diagnosisTo be able to diagnose skin cancer, a doctor will examine the skin and take a medical history, usually asking when the mark first appeared, whether its appearance has changed, whether it is painful or itchy, and whether it bleeds.

    The doctor will also ask about the persons family history and any other risk factors, such as exposure to the sun over the persons lifetime. He or she may also check the rest of the body for moles and other abnormal spots.

    The doctor may refer the person to a dermatologist, who may check for strange signs using a dermatoscope. A small sample of skin may also be taken and sent to a laboratory to check for signs of ceancer.

    If your doctor diagnoses skin ceancer, then more tests are needed to determine its grade, or stage.

    • Tags

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    What To Look For

    Any new spots that appear on the skin could potentially be skin cancer, considering that one in five people will develop at least one skin cancer in their lifetime. Definitively distinguishing the different types of skin cancer requires a biopsy and microscopic evaluation, but the general appearance of these tumors also differs to some degree.

    • Basal cell carcinomas are often shiny and have been described as pearlescent. They may be flat, raised, or dome-shaped, and are often pink, pale, or flesh-colored. On careful inspection, tiny blood vessels may be visible when compared with the surrounding skin. Basal cell cancer characteristically is very often ulcerated and has been called a rodent ulcer because it looks like a mouse has gnawed it.

    This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

    • Squamous cell carcinomas are often raised and feel crusty to touch. They can appear scaly and may be ulceratedthat is, have a central depression that is lighter and flatter than the surrounding area. These cancers sometimes bleed, ooze, or form scabs.

    This photo contains content that some people may find graphic or disturbing.

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    Signs Vs Symptoms Of Cancer

    Signs and symptoms of disease can be two different things:

    • A sign is something that can be observed by another person, such as a change in skin color or wheezing.
    • A symptom is something you feel, such as fatigue or pain, that isnt obvious to others.

    The nature of cancer signs and symptoms differ greatly, depending on where the cancer is located.

    Bladder cancer, for instance, causes blood in the urine, while brain cancer triggers terrible headaches.

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    How Does A Doctor Know The Stage Of A Patient’s Melanoma

    When your dermatologist found a spot on your skin that looked like a skin cancer, your dermatologist performed a skin biopsy. This involved giving you an injection to numb the area and then removing all the spot.

    The skin that your dermatologist removed was then sent to a lab, where another doctor looked at it under a microscope. This doctor saw melanoma cells.

    When a doctor, who is either a dermatopathologist or pathologist, sees melanoma cells, this doctor also tries to determine the stage of the melanoma. When its possible to figure out the stage, the doctor includes this information in your biopsy report. This is a report that the doctor writes and sends to your dermatologist. It explains what the doctor saw under the microscope.

    Because the doctor sees only the skin that your dermatologist removed, your dermatologist also uses the findings from your complete skin exam and physical to help determine the stage of the melanoma.

    Sometimes, more information is needed to determine the stage.

    After Squamous Cell Cancer Of The Skin Has Been Diagnosed Tests Are Done To Find Out If Cancer Cells Have Spread Within The Skin Or To Other Parts Of The Body

    Skin of color: How to prevent and detect skin cancer

    The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the skin or to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. It is important to know the stage in order to plan treatment for squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.

    Basal cell carcinoma of the skin rarely spreads to other parts of the body. Staging tests to check whether basal cell carcinoma of the skin has spread are usually not needed.

    The following tests and procedures may be used in the staging process for squamous cell carcinoma of the skin:

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    Biopsies Of Melanoma That May Have Spread

    Biopsies of areas other than the skin may be needed in some cases. For example, if melanoma has already been diagnosed on the skin, nearby lymph nodes may be biopsied to see if the cancer has spread to them.

    Rarely, biopsies may be needed to figure out what type of cancer someone has. For example, some melanomas can spread so quickly that they reach the lymph nodes, lungs, brain, or other areas while the original skin melanoma is still very small. Sometimes these tumors are found with imaging tests or other exams even before the melanoma on the skin is discovered. In other cases, they may be found long after a skin melanoma has been removed, so its not clear if its the same cancer.

    In still other cases, melanoma may be found somewhere in the body without ever finding a spot on the skin. This may be because some skin lesions go away on their own after some of their cells have spread to other parts of the body. Melanoma can also start in internal organs, but this is very rare, and if melanoma has spread widely throughout the body, it may not be possible to tell exactly where it started.

    When melanoma has spread to other organs, it can sometimes be confused with a cancer starting in that organ. For example, melanoma that has spread to the lung might be confused with a primary lung cancer .

    Biopsies of suspicious areas inside the body often are more involved than those used to sample the skin.

    How Can Skin Cancer Be Diagnosed And Treated

    Cancer can be a scary diagnosis for anyone. However, when patients are aware of the signs and symptoms of skin cancer, they can often get treatment to eliminate it. This is because skin cancer is one of the few cancers that are visible. Skin cancer can be spotted and a biopsy can be done to see if cancerous cells exist. It can become problematic if patients ignore the symptoms and do not attend regular skin cancer screenings.

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    How Is Melanoma Treated

    Your melanoma treatment will depend on the stage of the melanoma and your general health.

    Surgery is usually the main treatment for melanoma. The procedure involves cutting out the cancer and some of the normal skin surrounding it. The amount of healthy skin removed will depend on the size and location of the skin cancer. Typically, surgical excision of melanoma can be performed under local anesthesia in the dermatologist’s office. More advanced cases may require other types of treatment in addition to or instead of surgery.

    Treatments for melanoma:

    • Melanoma Surgery: In the early stages, surgery has a high probability of being able to cure your melanoma. Usually performed in an office, a dermatologist numbs the skin with a local anesthetic and removes the melanoma and margins .
    • Lymphadenectomy: In cases where melanoma has spread, removal of the lymph nodes near the primary diagnosis site may be required. This can prevent the spread to other areas of your body.
    • Metastasectomy: Metastasectomy is used to remove small melanoma bits from organs.
    • Targeted cancer therapy: In this treatment option, drugs are used to attack specific cancer cells. This targeted approach goes after cancer cells, leaving healthy cells untouched.
    • Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy includes treatments with high-energy rays to attack cancer cells and shrink tumors.
    • Immunotherapy: immunotherapy stimulates your own immune system to help fight the cancer.

    Be Attuned To Any Visible Change

    Can you spot which moles are deadly? The skin cancer signs ...

    A change in a moles shape, size, or color indicates that melanoma may be brewing, notes Dr. Harvey. An uptick in mole elevation raises red flags, too, since that suggests vertical growth beneath the surface of the skin. In fact, a new bump may point to nodular melanoma, the second most common type of melanoma, accounting for 10% to 30% of all cases. Remember, skin cancer can resemble something as nondescript as a pimple or red patch, so its important to check your skin often and take note of all changes, says Dr. McNeill.

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    Get To Know Your Skin

    The sooner a skin cancer is identified and treated, the better your chance of avoiding surgery or, in the case of a serious melanoma or other skin cancer, potential disfigurement or even death.

    It is also a good idea to talk to your doctor about your level of risk and for advice on early detection.

    It’s important to get to know your skin and what is normal for you, so that you notice any changes. Skin cancers rarely hurt and are much more frequently seen than felt.

    Develop a regular habit of checking your skin for new spots and changes to existing freckles or moles.

    Uv Rays May Promote Skin Cancer In Two Ways:

    1- Damaging the DNA in the skin cells, causing the skin to grow abnormally.

    2- Weakening the immune system and blocking the bodys natural defenses against aggressive cells.

    Much of the damage to DNA in skin cells results from UV rays in sunlight and the lights used in tanning beds.

    Sun exposure doesnt explain skin cancers in skin that isnt normally exposed to sunlight. This suggests that other factors, such as exposure to toxic substances or a medical condition, can contribute to an increased risk of skin cancer.

    Actinic or solar keratoses are a concern because they can develop into cancer, and are among the most common malignant skin conditions.

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    When Melanoma Can’t Be Cured

    If your cancer has spread and it is not possible to cure it by surgery, your doctor may still recommend treatment. In this case, treatment may help to relieve symptoms, might make you feel better and may allow you to live longer.

    Whether or not you choose to have anti-cancer treatment, symptoms can still be controlled. For example, if you have pain, there are effective treatments for this.

    General practitioners, specialists and palliative care teams in hospitals all play important roles in helping people with cancer.

    How Is Basal And Squamous Cell Carcinoma Detected

    Can you spot skin cancer?

    There are some signs that enable you to detect each form of skin cancer early, and they are:

    Signs of basal cell carcinoma:

    1- A flat, hard, pale or yellow area, similar to a scar.

    2- Redness, and sometimes itching of the skin.

    3- Small, shiny, pearly, pink or red bumps that may have blue, brown, or black areas.

    4- Open sores that may leak fluid or form a crust, and do not heal or heal.

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    There Are Different Treatments For Skin Cancer

    Skin cancers are often removed with excisions. One of the most effective forms of skin cancer treatment is Mohs surgery. Layers of skin are carefully removed and looked at under a microscope, until only healthy tissue remains. Other treatments include radiation, photodynamic therapy, laser surgery, and topical medications. Systematic treatment sends medication throughout the patients body, and may be used to treat advanced stages of skin cancer.

    See A Suspicious Spot See A Dermatologist

    If you find a spot on your skin that could be skin cancer, its time to see a dermatologist. Found early, skin cancer is highly treatable. Often a dermatologist can treat an early skin cancer by removing the cancer and a bit of normal-looking skin.

    Given time to grow, treatment for skin cancer becomes more difficult.

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