Types of Skin Cancer

There are three different types of skin cancer - melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. It is particularly important to diagnose and treat melanoma early.

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Melanoma usually begins as a mole. The typical warning signs of early melanoma follow an easy-to remember formula:

  • Asymmetry-the mole is not a circle, but lopsided
  • Borders-the mole has uneven or ragged edges
  • Color-the mole is not a uniform brown but a mix of brown, black, blue, and white
  • Diameter- the mole is wider than a pencil eraser
  • Evolving- the mole that changes size, shape or symptoms, such as itching or tenderness

Your overall chance of developing a skin cancer is related to your lifetime exposure to UV radiation. While most skin cancers appear after age 50, the sun’s damaging effects begin at an early age. It’s important to start sun protection in childhood to prevent skin cancer later in life. Check yourself regularly for new growths or other changes in your skin, and report any unusual growths to a doctor.

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