What Do The Early Stages Of Skin Cancer Look Like
People can have stages of skin cancer and yet not feel ill, which makes early treatment and diagnosis a little challenging. But by being aware of the early stages of this disease, you can protect yourself and seek effective treatment right away. Do you have scaly patches, raised growths, or sores that do not heal? Dr. Jurzyk from Advanced Dermatology Center in Wolcott, CT can help you identify and treat all types of cancer of the skin, keeping you from fatal complications.
What Does Early Skin Cancer Look Like
It can be challenging to tell if a skin change is unimportant or, in fact, is a sign of developing skin cancer. Skin cancer is not uncommon, as one in five Americans will develop skin cancer before age 70. Learning to spot the warning signs is vital. When identified early, skin cancer is highly curable. Do you know what to look for or when to seek medical advice?
Types Of Skin Cancer:
Basal Cell found mainly in areas exposed to the sun, very common and usually very treatable. Detected at an early stage and removed promptly are almost always curable and cause minimal damage.Squamous Cell typically develops in chronic sun-exposed areas of your body.Melanoma more likely to grow and spread than the more common typesMerkel Cell very rare and tends to grow quickly, may be hard to treat if it spreads past beyond the skin
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What Does Stage 1 Melanoma Look Like
Stage 1: The cancer is up to 2 millimeters thick. It has not yet spread to lymph nodes or other sites, and it may or may not be ulcerated. Stage 2: The cancer is at least 1 mm thick but may be thicker than 4 mm. It may or may not be ulcerated, and it has not yet spread to lymph nodes or other sites.
Signs And Symptoms Of Non
Non-melanoma skin cancer usually starts as an abnormal area or change on any part of the skin. How non-melanoma skin cancer looks often depends on the type of cancer. Other health conditions can also look like non-melanoma skin cancer. See your doctor if you have any changes on your skin.
The following are common signs and symptoms of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma , the most common types of non-melanoma skin cancer.
Basal cell carcinoma usually develops on areas of skin exposed to the sun, especially the head, face and neck. It can also develop on the central part of the body . BCC may appear on the skin as:
- a sore that doesnt heal or comes back after healing
- pale white or yellow flat areas that look like scars
- raised and scaly red patches
- small, smooth and shiny lumps that are pearly white, pink or red
- a pink growth with raised edges and indents in the centre
- a growth that has small blood vessels on the surface
- a sore that bleeds
- a growth or area that is itchy
Squamous cell carcinoma usually develops on areas of skin exposed to the sun, but it can also be found on the skin around the genitals and anus. It can occur on the skin of scars, sores, ulcers and burns. SCC may appear on the skin as:
- a sore that doesnt heal or comes back after healing
- rough or scaly red patches with irregular borders
- raised lumps that indent in the centre
- a growth that looks like a wart
- a sore that is crusty or bleeds easily
- a growth or area that is itchy, irritated or sore
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Basal Cell Skin Cancer Warning Signs
Basal cell cancer tends to develop on parts of the body that get a lot of sun exposure, like the face, head, and neck, but they can appear anywhere.
Some are flat and look a lot like normal skin. Others have more distinctive characteristics, says the American Cancer Society , including:
- Flat, firm, pale, or yellow areas that resemble a scar
- Raised, reddish patches of skin that might be itchy or irritated
- Small bumps that might be pink, red, pearly translucent, or shiny, possibly with areas of blue, brown, or black
- Pink growths with slightly raised edges and an indentation in the center tiny blood vessels might run through it like the spokes of a wheel
- Open sores, possibly with oozing or crusted areas, that dont heal or that go through cycles of healing and bleeding
- Delicate areas that bleed easily. For instance, having a sore or cut from shaving that lingers longer than one week.
These slow-growing skin cancers can be easy to ignore unless they become big and begin to itch, bleed, or even hurt, according to the ACS.
The Five Stages Of Skin Cancer
Cancer in the skin thats at high risk for spreading shares features with basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Some of these features are:
- Not less than 2 mm in thickness
- Has spread into the inner layers of the skin
- Has invaded skin nerves
In the earliest stage, cancer is only present in the upper layer of the skin. You may notice the appearance of blood vessels or a dent in the center of the skin growth. There are no traces of malignant cells beyond this layer.
At stage 1, cancer has not spread to muscles, bone, and other organs. It measures roughly 4/5 of an inch. Theres a possibility that it may have spread into the inner layer of the skin.
In this stage, cancer has become larger than 4/5 of an inch. Cancer still has not spread to muscles, bone, and other organs.
At stage 3, the cancer is still larger than 4/5 of an inch. Facial bones or a nearby lymph node may have been affected, but other organs remain safe. It may also spread to areas below the skin, such as into muscle, bone, and cartilage but not far from the original site.
Cancer can now be of any size and has likely spread into lymph nodes, bones, cartilage, muscle, or other organs. Distant organs such as the brain or lungs may also be affected. In rare cases, this stage might cause death when allowed to grow and become more invasive.
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What Skin Cancer Looks Like
Skin cancer appears on the body in many different ways. It can look like a:
Changing mole or mole that looks different from your others
Non-healing sore or sore that heals and returns
Brown or black streak under a nail
It can also show up in other ways.
To find skin cancer on your body, you dont have to remember a long list. Dermatologists sum it up this way. Its time to see a dermatologist if you notice a spot on your skin that:
Differs from the others
To make it easy for you to check your skin, the AAD created the Body Mole Map. Youll find everything you need to know on a single page. Illustrations show you how to examine your skin and what to look for. Theres even place to record what your spots look like. Youll find this page, which you can print, at Body Mole Map.
How Common Is Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in the U.S.
Other skin cancer facts:
- Around 20% of Americans develop skin cancer sometime in their life.
- Approximately 9,500 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every day.
- Having five or more sunburns in your life doubles your chance of developing melanoma. The good news is that the five-year survival rate is 99% if caught and treated early.
- Non-Hispanic white persons have almost a 30 times higher rate of skin cancer than non-Hispanic Black or Asian/Pacific Islander persons.
- Skin cancer in people with skin of color is often diagnosed in later stages when its more difficult to treat. Some 25% of melanoma cases in African Americans are diagnosed when cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
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What Isnt Skin Cancer
The only way to be 100% sure that a lesion is not cancerous is to have it removed or biopsied and to have a pathologist look at the histology of the tissue.
However, the following are unlikely to be malignant and can usually just be monitored:
Typical skin tagsthese are usually found in areas of the body that rub against each other, such as under the arms or breasts.
Freckles that have been present since childhoodthese are small, flat, pigmented lesions that have been present since a young age and that usually fade without sun exposure. Use the ABCDE method to monitor them.
Age spotsalso called liver spots or solar lentigines. These are common in people over the age of 50 but may also be present in younger people who have spent a lot of time in the sun. They are typically present on areas of skin that have been exposed to the sun or that are sun-damaged. They can co-exist with skin cancers. Use the ABCDE approach to monitor age spots for malignant change.
Features of solar lentigines :
Flat, oval areas of increased pigmentation
Usually tan to dark brown
Occur on skin that has had the most sun exposure over the years, such as the backs of hands, tops of feet, face, shoulders, and upper back
Range from freckle size to about 1/2 inch across
Can group together, making them more noticeable
What Can I Do To Prevent Skin Cancer In My Child
The American Academy of Dermatology and the Skin Cancer Foundation advise you to:
Limit how much sun your child gets between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Use broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Put it on the skin of children older than 6 months of age who are exposed to the sun.
Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, even on cloudy days. Reapply after swimming.
Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand. They reflect the damaging rays of the sun. This can increase the chance of sunburn.
Make sure your child wears clothing that covers the body and shades the face. Hats should provide shade for both the face, ears, and back of the neck. Wearing sunglasses will reduce the amount of rays reaching the eye and protect the lids of the eyes, as well as the lens.
Dont let your child use or be around sunlamps or tanning beds.
The American Academy of Pediatrics approves of the use of sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months old if adequate clothing and shade are not available. You should still try to keep your baby out of the sun. Dress the baby in lightweight clothing that covers most surface areas of skin. But you also may use a small amount of sunscreen on the babys face and back of the hands.
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What Are Treatments For Skin Cancer
Skin cancer can be treated in one of several ways based on factors such as the cancer type and severity, and the location of the skin growth.
Freezing and surgery are some common skin cancer treatments. Freezing is ideal for small, early-stage skin cancers and destroys the affected tissue, after which it is sloughed off. Surgery involves removing the cancerous tissue and can be performed on any type of skin cancer.
Other skin cancer treatments include:
- Curettage and electrodessication, in which a doctor scrapes away the cancerous cells using a circular blade called a curette, then uses an electric needle to destroy remaining cancer cells.
- Radiation therapy, which uses high-powered energy beams to destroy cancer cells.
- Chemotherapy, which uses medications to treat cancer in the top layers of skin or cancer that has spread to other parts of the body .
- Targeted therapy, which involves the use of medications that target specific proteins in cancer cells that cause them to grow and spread.
The most common type of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma, can usually be treated in office, either with large section or electrodessication. MOHS surgeries are popular for any type of cancer on the face because it gives you the least amount of scarring. More concerning cancers like melanoma, may also require some follow-up treatment such as chemo and radiation, based on spread or how large the area is.
What Does Skin Cancerlook Like
Our overview of skin cancer pictures includes pictures of moles and other skin spots that you can use as a first comparison to any moles that might worry you. The skin cancer pictures give you an idea of what skin cancer can look like. Signs of skin cancer differ in form, color and borders.
These signs are shown below each picture. Other signs such as diameter and evolution are not shown, as they are difficult to assess through static images.
However, when you do a self-examination of your skin, make sure to check for these signs too.
You will notice that all these skin cancer pictures are quite different from one another, making it harder to detect the disease by only a few pictures. Download SkinVision to check your skin for signs of skin cancer and get an instant risk indication.
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Can Blood Disorders Cause Skin Rashes
Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen through the body. Some types of anemia can cause rashes, which are abnormalities on the skin. Sometimes, the rash that presents with anemia may be due to the anemia condition itself. Other times, the rash may be due to complications from the treatment of the anemia.
How Is Skin Cancer Diagnosed
A doctor can diagnose skin cancer by examining the appearance and texture of the skin growth, and by performing a skin biopsy. During a biopsy, the doctor removes a tiny sample of the growth and sends it to a lab where it is screened and tested for skin cancer. A biopsy can also reveal which type of skin cancer it is. In some instances, doctors may recommend additional tests to determine the severity and progression of cancer.
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Want To Know What Does Skin Cancer On Cats Look Like
Although not always linked, skin cancer in cats is often caused by exposure to the sun. Cats with a light or white and/or thin or a lack of fur are most at risk, especially if they have suffered sunburn at any point. Some studies show that the compulsive licking of certain areas can also damage the skin and increase the chance of skin cancer. Certain breeds may also be at a higher risk.
What are skin cancers? Skin cancer is an uncontrolled growth of cells within the skin. Find our complete video library only
What Are The Abcde’s Of Moles
Skin cancer pictures are helpful, but this is a tried and true way to answer, “what does skin cancer look like?” The method of identifying cancerous moles is called the “ugly duckling sign” because you’re looking for the odd one the mole that is a different size, shape, or color than the surrounding moles. The ABCDE’s of moles will teach you how to spot skin cancer, the ugly ducks if you will.
A Asymmetry: If you could “fold” a mole in half, both sides of an irregular one would not line up evenly.
B Border irregularity: Border irregularity is when a mole has a crooked or jagged edge rather than a round, smooth edge.
C Color variation: Some moles are dark, some are light, some are brown, and some are pink but all moles should be the same color throughout. A darker ring or different colored splotches in a mole should be monitored.
D Diameter: A mole should be no larger than 6 mm. A mole larger than 6 mm, or one that grows, should be checked by a derm.
E Evolving: A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.
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How Can I Help My Child Live With Skin Cancer
If your child has skin cancer, you can help him or her during treatment in these ways:
Your child may have trouble eating. A dietitian or nutritionist may be able to help.
Your child may be very tired. He or she will need to learn to balance rest and activity.
Get emotional support for your child. Counselors and support groups can help.
Keep all follow-up appointments.
Keep your child out of the sun.
After treatment, check your child’s skin every month or as often as advised.
How Often Should You Check For Skin Cancer
Yearly skin exams are typically recommended as a preventative measure, says Dr. Crutchfield. In addition to a head-to-toe exam, they can also take photos of any suspicious moles.
A monthly skin-check at home is recommended to check for new lesions or to monitor any changes in atypical moles. Do the skin-check by standing naked in front of a full-length mirror, in a room with good lighting, holding a hand mirror, says Dr. King. . Get a friend or partner to do a check of hard to see places like your back.
Bottom line: There are many types of skin cancer, each of which can look different person to personso go see your doc if you notice any marks on your skin that are new or changing or worrisome.
When it comes to reviewing skin cancer pictures and identifying the big C, Dr. Crutchfield’s best advice is “see spot, see spot change, see a dermatologist.”
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