The early signs of cancer aren't always clear, especially if it's happening internally. For skin cancer, however, knowing what it looks like in its earliest stages are key to a quick diagnosis, effective treatment and full recovery. Dr. Robert Griffith, your dermatologist in Knoxville, TN, has listed a few of the early signs of the three most common types of skin cancer that you shouldn't ignore.
Basal cell carcinoma
This particular type of skin cancer is the most common, but fortunately, it's also the most treatable and least likely to spread. Basal cell carciimonas, or BCCs, typically appear in sun-exposed areas such as the nose, ears, or neck. For many people, a persistent sore or irritated patch of skin is the first warning sign of BCC. A shiny nodule or other growth, which can range in color from pink to dark brown, can also indicate BCC. More advanced BCC may appear as a scar-like area on the skin. Other conditions can mimic the signs of BCC and other skin cancers, so it's always important to have areas of concern evaluated by your dermatologist.
Squamous cell carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is another type of skin cancer that occurs less frequently than BCC, but are thought to arise from sun exposure as well. Many take on the appearance of warts or are scaly-looking and bleed easily. Others appear as a bump with a depression or darker color in the center. This type tends to grow rapidly in size over a short period of time. SCCs aren't likely to become invasive, but it's important to have them treated right away. Your Knoxville dermatologist cautions anyone who has previously been diagnosed with skin cancer to be particularly vigilant about developing other types of skin cancers as well.
The third common type of skin cancer is much less common than the others, only making up about 1 percent of skin cancer diagnoses. However, melanoma can metastasize, or spread, into other parts of the body, making it a potentially deadly diagnosis if treatment is delayed. Your dermatologist advises patients to observe the ABCDE rule when it comes to melanoma: in any new or existing mole or skin growth, asymmetry, irregular borders, variation of colors, a diameter larger than 5 millimeters, and any evolving changes warrant a visit to Dr. Griffith immediately.
To help avoid skin cancer, make a yearly skin check part of your health routine. Contact the dermatology office of Dr. Griffith in Knoxville, TN to schedule yours today!