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Skin Cancer Has Different Faces: Here Are Signs to Look for if You Have the Big C

Did you know that just by getting a serious sunburn could increase your chance of getting skin cancer? Little did most people know that in the United States, this is the most common cancer, so it is best that you do a self-check every once in a while.

The good news is that it is treatable if you catch the disease in its early stages. It’s fairly easy because you can assess yourself simply by standing in front of the mirror to check for marks that might be cancerous.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

According to the American Cancer Society, one of the most common types of skin cancer is called basal cell carcinoma, which usually forms in places that are oftentimes exposed to ultraviolet rays. Basal cells are found in the epidermis.

Basal cell carcinoma stems from extreme exposure to UV rays

These usually grow slowly and seldom spread to other parts of the body but are usually ignored because they look like blemishes or pimples. Dermatologist Saira George advised looking for scabs and sores that do not heal; translucent or shiny bumps; bumps or lesions; and itchy raised patches.


Among other forms of skin cancer, melanoma is the most uncommon yet is the deadliest because unlike the basal cell carcinoma, this easily and rapidly spreads in your body. This happens due to uncontrollable growth of melanocytes, a type of skin cell in charge of giving color to your skin.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center doctor Jennifer DeFazio advises the use of ABCDE (Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter, Evolving) method to check if you have melanoma.

Moles that have no definite border is a sign of melanoma

Check if your moles look asymmetrical; if their borders are scalloped or poorly defined; if they have multiple colors like red, blue, brown, black, or transparent; if it’s bigger than a typical pencil eraser; and if you notice any changes in color, size, texture, or borders.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Second to the basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma is one of the most common types of skin cancer. It takes place in the flat cells on your outer epidermis and in areas that are usually hit by the sun.

Squamous cell carcinoma is also common but treatable

It doesn’t mostly spread and is also treatable, especially if caught early. If you see pinkish or reddish bumps that aren’t shiny or pearly and won’t heal, it is best to talk with your doctor to confirm.

Other signs include flat and large patches, raised growths with a hollow center, wart-like bumps, and open sores, dermatologist Anthony Rossi explained.

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