Skin cancer can be caused by different factors, from your genes to your level of sun exposure. People with fair skin and a family history of skin cancer are more likely to develop this condition. Skin cancer is treatable with favorable outcomes if you catch it early. Here are four signs you may have skin cancer:
1. Asymmetrical Moles
Healthy, benign moles are symmetrical in shape. They're round with smooth edges, and they tend to be one even color throughout. Moles with jagged borders or uneven coloration may be cancerous. According to Mayo Clinic, a large pigmented patch of skin containing smaller, darker spots may be a symptom of melanoma cancer.
2. Unusually Large Moles
Moles are usually nothing to be concerned about, but large moles may be a sign of trouble. If you find a mole that's larger than a pencil eraser, you should have it examined by your dermatologist. They may want to perform a biopsy to rule out skin cancer as a possible cause for your mole.
3. Moles That Change Over Time
Many people are born with birthmarks or moles. If you have these features on your skin, you should examine them regularly. Healthy moles don't change over time. If you notice the edges of your birthmark or mole blurring or spreading, that's a sign of skin cancer. A mole that grows larger over time may also be cancerous. Taking photos may help you pinpoint changes more accurately than memory alone.
4. Sores That Don't Heal
Small cuts can be caused by many different things, and they usually heal on their own in a short period of time. However, if you notice a cut that doesn't heal, or that keeps recurring over time, that can be a sign of basal cell carcinoma. If your open sore doesn't heal within a week, you should seek medical attention.
If you notice any of these signs of skin cancer, you should make an appointment with your dermatologist immediately. They can examine you and take a biopsy to make a proper diagnosis. If you are diagnosed with melanoma or another kind of skin cancer, there are melanoma cancer treatment options available. Excision surgery can be enough to remove cancer that has not metastasized, while radiation therapy may be needed to treat melanoma that has spread into your lymph nodes. Your doctor will be able to provide you with more information and a full treatment plan.