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How to spot skin cancer ?

Discussion in 'Dermatology' started by Heba Hossam, Dec 28, 2013.

  1. Heba Hossam

    Heba Hossam Active member

    Dec 21, 2013
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    Cairo, Egypt
    Practicing medicine in:

    The sooner a skin cancer is identified and treated, the better your chance of avoiding surgery or, in the case of a serious melanoma or other skin cancer, potential disfigurement or even death.

    It is also a good idea to talk to your doctor about your level of risk and for advice on early detection.

    It's important to get to know your skin and what is normal for you, so that you notice any changes. Skin cancers rarely hurt and are much more frequently seen than felt.

    Develop a regular habit of checking your skin for new spots and changes to existing freckles or moles.

    How to check your skin

    • Make sure you check your entire body as skin cancers can sometimes occur in parts of the body not exposed to the sun, for example soles of the feet, between fingers and toes and under nails.
    • Undress completely and make sure you have good light.
    • Use a mirror to check hard to see spots, like your back and scalp, or get a family member, partner or friend to check it for you.
    What to look for
    There are three main types of skin cancer- melanoma (including nodular melanoma), basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.


    • Most deadly form of skin cancer.
    • If left untreated can spread to other parts of the body.
    • Appears as a new spot or an existing spot that changes in colour, size or shape.
    • Can appear on skin not normally exposed to the sun.
    Nodular melanoma

    • Grows quickly.
    • Looks different from common melanomas. Raised and even in colour.
    • Many are red or pink and some are brown or black.
    • They are firm to touch and dome-shaped.
    • After a while they begin to bleed and crust.
    Basal cell carcinoma

    • Most common, least dangerous form of skin cancer.
    • Red, pale or pearly in colour, appears as a lump or dry, scaly area.
    • May ulcerate or fail to completely heal.
    • Grows slowly, usually on areas that are often exposed to the sun.
    Squamous cell carcinoma

    • A thickened, red scaly spot that may bleed easily, crust or ulcerate.
    • Grows over some months, usually on areas often exposed to the sun.


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