The symptoms of skin cancer can be hard to see for those who think that developing skin cancer is something that will never happen to them. We’re here to tell you that the mentality “it could never happen to me” is dangerous. It’s easy to brush things under the rug, but when it comes to prevention education is key to catching anything early – before it has the chance to do further, life-threatening damage.
Where can skin cancer develop?
Most often skin cancer develops on the areas of your skin that get the most exposure to the sun – scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms and hands, and if you’re a woman – your legs. A little known fact is that it can also form on areas that barely see the light of day such as your palms, beneath your fingernails or toenails and even in your genital area.
Skin cancer affects people with a variety of skin tones, not just those of us who have light complexions. Melanoma, the most deadly of skin cancers, can occur in people with darker complexions, and most often occurs in areas that aren’t exposed to the sun.
Types of cancer and symptoms
There are a variety of skin cancers that can occur all over your body.
- Basal cell carcinoma usually occurs in sun-exposed areas of your body, such as your neck or face. Symptoms may include pearly or waxy bumps or flat flesh-colored or brown scar-like lesions on the skin.
- Squamous cell carcinoma occurs on the areas of your body most exposed to the sun such as your face, ears and hands. People with darker skin are more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma on areas that aren’t exposed to the sun often. Symptoms may include firm, red nodules, or flat lesions with a scaly or crusted surface.
Melanoma can develop anywhere on your body, in normal skin or in an existing mole that becomes cancerous. Melanoma is different for men and women – in men it most often appears on the face men, and in women it often develops on the lower legs. In both genders, melanoma can develop on areas of the skin that aren’t often exposed to the sun. Symptoms include brownish spots with darker speckles, a mole that changes in color and size that may bleed, lesions that have irregular border and portions – usually red, white, blue or blue-black in color.
In some cases not all skin changes are caused by skin cancer, which is great news. The best defense against skin cancer is self-exams regularly, and if you notice any discolorations or symptoms it is advised you make an appointment with your doctor. We recommend always going with your gut instinct. Only you know your body – so make sure that you are examining yourself regularly. It could save your life. The best way to prevent a diagnosis is always to follow proper sun safety to have a safe and fun summer season.