The ability to detect skin cancer, the leading type of cancer, early could save lives, and the American Cancer Society recently shared information on how to spot skin cancer in the beginning stages when it is easily treatable and has not advanced.
While a doctor can scan patients for abnormal spots, the society recommends on its website that patients also do their own scans monthly.
One way to spot skin cancer is by utilizing the ABCDE rule to spot potentially deadly melanoma, the society said in its posting. A stands for asymmetry, where one part of a mole or birthmark is irregular from the other. B stands for border, where edges are irregular, ragged, notched or blurred. C stands for color, where the color is not uniform throughout and might include patches of color. D stands for diameter, where a spot is bigger than ¼ of an inch in diameter. E stands for evolving, where a mole or spot changes in shape, size or color.
Tips on how to spot basal and squamous cell skin cancers, which aren’t as fatal as melanoma but occur more frequently, include looking for flat, firm, pale or yellow areas that compare to a scar; raised red-like patches that are sometimes itchy; small, pink or red clear, shiny bumps with brown, black or blue areas; pink growths with raised edges and lower area in their centers; and open sores, the posting said.
The posting noted that patients should tell their doctor about any abnormal or new spots since not all skin cancers fall under the aforementioned descriptions.