What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is a tumor or growth of abnormal cells in our skin. The most common type of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma, followed by squamous cell carcinoma, and then melanoma.

When found early, these skin cancers can be cured. The most serious type of skin cancer is called malignant melanoma. Malignant melanomas are more likely to spread, causing significant morbidity and mortality (illness and death).

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in humans. Because skin cancer can be identified and treated early, most are cured. If it is neglected, skin cancer can be deadly. For most people, skin cancer is a preventable disease; therefore, by taking a few safeguards, you can reduce your risk and even prevent skin cancer.

What are the signs of skin cancer?

Skin cancer can be a spot that does not heal. If you scrap your knee, it will usually heal within a month. Skin cancer will not heal.

Skin cancers can appear as moles, scaly patches, open sores, or raised bumps. These signs can vary, depending on the form of skin cancer. Different types of skin cancer share some of the same signs, so it's important to get any moles or bumps of concern checked. Here are some signs to look for:

Signs of skin cancer (ABCDE):

(A) Asymmetry: irregular shape.

(B) Border: blurry or irregularly shaped edges.

(C) Color: mole with more than one color.

(D) Diameter: larger than a pencil eraser. (6 mm)

(E) Evolution: enlarging, changing in shape, color, or size. (This is the most important sign.)