SKIN CANCER skin cancer

Benign and Malignant Skin Cancers

Prompt action is your best protection. Common moles and melanomas do not look alike.
Check the comparison photos below:


benign symmetrical skin cancer image


malignant asymmetrical skin cancer image

Asymmetrical (the two sides do not match)

even borders skin cancer image

Borders are even

uneven bordered skin cancer image

Borders are uneven

one shade skin cancer image

One shade

Two or more shades skin cancer image

Two or more shades

small skin cancer image

Smaller than 1/4 inch

large skin cancer image

Larger than 1/4 inch

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What to Look For
When a melanoma is detected at an early stage and treated, it Is usually curable. Some melanomas are hidden in everyday life - by inconspicuous locations on the body; by clothing; even by hair on our heads. But many, if not most, melanomas can be spotted as soon as they arise - if you know what to look for and check for those signs.

The ABCD's of Moles & Melanoma
Most people have a number of brownish spots on their skin - freckles, birthmarks, moles. Almost all such spots are normal, but some may be skin cancers. Key warning signs of melanoma are shown below. Be alert to irregularities in shape, edges, colour, and size. The ABCD's of melanoma are as follows: Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Colour variability, and Diameter larger than a pencil eraser.

Most early melanomas are asymmetrical: a line through the middle would not create matching halves. Common moles are round and symmetrical. early melanomas skin cancer image

The borders of early melanomas are often uneven and may have scalloped or notched edges. Common moles have smoother, more even borders. melanomas uneven borders skin cancer image

Common moles usually are a single shade of brown. Varied shades of brown, tan, or black are often the first sign of melanoma. As melanomas progress, the colours red, white and blue may appear. melanoma colour skin cancer image

Early melanomas tend to grow larger than common moles - generally to at least the size of a pencil eraser (about 6mm, or 1/4 inch, in diameter). early melanoma skin cancer image

If you detect any of these warning signs, see a physician promptly.

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How Does a Mole Change?

In addition to checking out the ABCDs, you should watch for change.
The mole suddenly or continuously gets larger.

A wide variety of colours or colour combinations appear. Colour might spread from the edge into the surrounding tissue.

A mole that was flat or slightly elevated increases in height rapidly.

Surrounding skin
The skin around a mole becomes red or develops coloured blemishes or swellings.

A smooth mole develops scaliness, erosion, oozing. Crusting, ulceration, or bleeding are signs of more advanced disease.

Itching is the most common early symptom, and there may also be feelings of tenderness or pain. Nonetheless, remember that skin cancers are usually painless.

If any of these changes occur, they should be checked by a professional. It is particularly important for you to select a physician who specialises in skin cancer and is trained to recognise a melanoma at its earliest stage. You would first see a dermatologist, who might refer you to a dermatologic surgeon or oncologist (cancer specialist). Make an appointment without delay.
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