Skin cancer is one of the common types of cancer, which is related to abnormal growth of skin cells. There are three basic types of skin cancers, known as melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Skin cancer often occurs on skin exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation or sunlight, but that’s not always the case. In this post, we are discussing more on how to spot skin cancer at home and other things to know.
A simple skin self-exam
Regularly checking your skin for signs of skin cancer is important, and it is not that difficult. You will need to have a big mirror and a hand mirror handy to do the skin self-exam. Check your facial skin and scalp in detail, and if required, consider using a blow dryer. Similarly check all the parts of your body using a big mirror. You can take help of your spouse to check the rear part of your body. There are a few tell-a-tale signs of melanoma that you can easily find.
- For instance, you may find borders around a mole or birthmark that’s not regular.
- There is a change in birthmark, mole shape and color, especially presence of inconsistent colors.
- Bigger skin marks that are larger than one-fourth in diameter. If you also find marks on your body changing size, color or shape, make sure to check with a doctor.
What are the risk factors?
There are a few risk factors for skin cancer. While anyone can get skin cancer, people with fair skin are at a greater risk, because they have less melanin. People who tend to get sunburns easily, or have to deal with extensive sun exposure on a regular basis are also at a higher risk. Since people who live in warm climates are more exposed to sunlight, they do have a greater risk of skin cancer. Other risk factors include multiple moles, precancerous skin lesions, and a family & personal history of skin cancer. Weakened immune system and exposure to radiation are also known risk factors.
While there is no direct way to prevent skin cancer, you can take a few preventive steps. For instance, consider using sunscreen all through the year, avoid extreme sun exposure, wear protective clothing, and do regular self-exams, if you have any of the risk factors mentioned above. Talk to your doctor if you have any signs.