According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will get skin cancer over the course of their life. While this is a sobering statistic, it’s also important to note that survival rates for melanoma found before it invades the lymph nodes stand at 98 percent.
Early detection is the biggest factor to long-term survival, so being aware of the early warning signs is crucial.
A Mole That Isn’t Like the Others
Nearly everyone has moles, and the vast, vast majority of them are harmless. However, any mole that doesn’t look like all the others you have should be checked out.
Sometimes referred to as “the ugly duckling sign,” a mole that doesn’t look anything like the others is cause for concern.
The Mark is Asymmetrical
Some birthmarks, such as port wine stains, are expected to be asymmetrical. Moles, on the other hand, should be round or slightly oval. If you have a mole where one side is markedly different from the other, have it examined.
The Mark is Changing
If you notice that one of your birthmarks is growing in size, it needs attention. If you have many freckles, moles and birthmarks, consider taking photos of them with a coin next to them for size reference. This will make it easier to note if a mark begins to grow.
The Color is Wrong
Normal moles are usually brown, black or tan. They can sometimes lighten and disappear entirely. If you notice any white, blue, red or purple on a mark, this is not normal and is cause for concern.
It’s Causing Sensations
It is not normal for a birthmark of any kind to itch, burn or be sore all the time. This is an early warning sign of cancer and should be addressed immediately.
The Mark Won’t Heal
If you have a spot on your skin that just won’t heal up, skin cancer is a possibility. This is especially true if the spot is weeping, swollen or red.
The Texture Feels Wrong
A normal mole may be flat or raised, but it shouldn’t be scaly or scabby. If one of your moles is suddenly crusty and oozing, get to Dermatology Associates right away.
Schedule Your Appointment Today
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, but it can be survived with great success if you catch it early. With locations in Norwood, Foxboro and Franklin, Dermatology Associates is committed to catching skin cancer early, as we know that this can save lives.