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Knowing skin cancers

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A recent Health.com article simplified skin cancer with a simple slideshow. This information helps the average person in what to look for when noticing a suspicious growth on the body. Because it is common to have moles, identifying skin cancers is not easy. Therefore, it is important for a person to be aware of all the growths on the body and when or if they begin to change.

Actinic keratosis is a pre-cancer and is quite common. They are often seen on the scalp, face, forearms and hands. The flesh-colored pink or red patch may scale and itch.
Basal cell carcinomas are the most common skin cancer. High sun areas such as face, shoulders, and back are more often exposed to the sun and therefore more prone. This growth appears pink or red and has a tendency to bleed. When caught early, this type of skin cancer is easily treated.

Squamous cell carcinoma can be found anywhere on the body, though most often in areas of high sun exposure. These thick irregular growths, that resemble warts, can peel and bleed.

The most serious form of skin cancer is melanoma. Follow the ABCDE rule when suspecting melanoma. “A” stands for asymmetry; the mole will not be evenly sized when split in half. “B” stands for borders; the edges will be irregular. “C” stands for color. Melanomas change colors and range from light to black. “D” stands for diameter. Look for moles greater than the size of a pencil’s eraser. “E” stands for evolution. Melanomas change in size and shape in a short amount of time. Nodular moles begin with a raised area and are fast growing.

While most moles are normal growths with smooth borders and color that is consistent, it is important to investigate any growth previously unseen. A visit with a board certified dermatologist will get the skin care answers a person needs to know.

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