Skin cancer is the most common. There are many types of skin cancers. They are classified as melanomas or non-melanomas. Melanomas begin in the melanocytes, the cells in the skin that produce color. Melanoma can spread quickly to other parts of the body. It is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Non-melanomas originate in skin cells other than melanocytes. Non-melanomas are less aggressive and rarely spread.
Exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun and a history of childhood sunburns are the main causes of most skin cancers. In some cases, skin cancer may be prevented. Skin cancer that is detected and treated early is very curable. It is important to have regular skin and mole checks by a skin specialist. Untreated skin cancer can cause disfigurement, spread to other parts of the body, and cause death.
There are many different types of skin cancers, and they have several different appearances. Skin cancer can develop on normal skin, injured skin, or moles. Melanoma can develop on the skin, in a mole, or in the iris or retina of the eye. You should look for changes in the shape, texture, size, or color of a mole or new skin growth. Skin cancer may look like a sore that does not heal. Cancerous moles or skin areas may also develop pain, swelling, itching, and bleeding.
Nonmelanoma skin cancers tend to develop in places that have been exposed to the sun, such as the scalp, nose, ears, face, and backs of the hands. Melanoma can develop anywhere on the skin, even in places that have not been exposed to the sun. However, the backs of men and the lower legs of women are the most frequent places that melanoma develops.
The ABCD method is useful when examining your skin for cancer-related changes:
A- Asymmetry: One-half of the abnormal area does not match the other half.
B- Border Irregularity: The growth or mole has uneven, notched, ragged, or irregular edges.
C- Color: The abnormal area or mole contains different colors instead of one solid color.
There may be different shades of tan, brown, black, red, blue, or white.
D- Diameter: The mole or abnormal growth is larger than ¼ inch across. However, some melanomas may be smaller.