There are many different types of skin cancer and not all look the same, from open wounds to scaly patches and moles.
Skin cancer is on the rise in North America. Over the past thirty years, more patients have been diagnosed with skin cancer than all other cancers combined, and according to skincancer.org, it’s estimated that 1 in 5 Americans will develop the illness sometime in their lifetime.
While this news may make you run for the nearest patch of shade and slap on SPF 50 sunblock with verve, the good news is that prevention and detection can go a long way in keeping you safe.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, two of the most common types of skin cancer- basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas- are highly curable if they’re detected and treated early on.
As for the more vicious melanoma skin cancer, it also has a high 5-year survival rate- up to 98%- if it’s detected before it spreads to the lymph nodes.
That being said, no one wishes to fall sick and skin cancer can kill you. What can you do to stay away from the clawing paws of the sun?
It’s well known that wearing sunscreen and protective clothing are a must. Staying out of the sun when it’s at its peak is also key to keeping you healthy and cancer-free.
And aside from that, it’s also important to know what you’re looking for when you check for cancerous spots on your body. Here are the different types of skin cancer and some tips on how to spot them:
This type of skin cancer is the most common and accounts for 80% of all diagnosed cases.
It’s slow growing, often grows on the head and neck on areas that have been exposed to the sun and looks like a sore or wound that’s pink or red that simply won’t heal.
This type of skin cancer is the second most common, and it can occur on any part of your body but often appears on skin that’s been out in the sun.
It’s characterized by scaly red patches, open sores that don’t heal, growths that have a depressed center or look like warts and patches that are crusty or bleeding.
This might be what you think of when skin cancer comes to mind. It’s the most dangerous and deadly type and it’s characterized by dark spots. It can also be pink, red, purple, blue or even white in nature though, so don’t be fooled.
Other types of skin cancer exist, and they can all look quite different. What should you watch for? Basically, anything unusual. Scaly, dry patches of skin can be an indication that something is brewing, as well as dark spots, unusual growths, and open sores that don’t heal up and go away.
In general, to stay safe watch your skin and have your partner or a good friend check it for you on occasion, where you can’t see it.
Don’t let unknown sores fester–get to a doctor to have them checked out and to seek treatment, and you could be catching something early before it progresses.
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