The American Cancer Society (ACS) posted an article on its website on the early signs of skin cancer, the most common type of cancer, ranging from the often-deadly melanoma to the common but rarely fatal basal and squamous cell skin cancers.
Tough a doctor can perform an examination to locate skin cancers, individuals should check themselves monthly for changes in the skin that indicate a possible cancerous lesion.
The signs of melanoma follow the "ABCDE rule." Asymmetrical moles or birthmarks, irregular or ragged borders, uneven coloring, a diameter of ¼-inch or larger and an evolution in color, size or shape. When diagnosed early, melanoma and other skin cancers are much easier to treat successfully.
Basal and squamous cell skin cancers tend to develop where the skin has been exposed to the sun. They can appear anywhere on the body. Basal cell cancers may appear as areas similar to a scar, raised reddish itchy patches, bumps with different colored areas or sores that ooze, or heal and then return.
Squamous cell skin cancer may appear as rough or scaly patches, raised growths or open sores. In some cases, it may appears as a growth similar to a wart.
In addition to monitoring the skin for signs of cancer, help prevent the development of skin cancers by always using sunscreen and a hat to protect the skin from the sun's rays. Don't use tanning booths. Avoid sunburns; damage to the skin may take years to develop into a skin cancer.