Senior Care - How to Provide Elderly Independence

How To Spot Different Types Of Skin Cancer

by Stephen Silva

Every year there are more new cases of skin cancer than there are of lung, breast, prostate, and colon cancer combined. In fact, it's estimated that one in five Americans will develop some kind of skin cancer over the course of their lifetime. Fortunately, radiation, chemotherapy, and skin cancer surgery are safe and effective options for those who develop skin cancer. However, it's important to have skin cancer treated as soon as possible so that it doesn't spread deeper into your skin or into other areas of your body. So, everyone should learn how to spot the signs and symptoms of different types of skin cancer.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. It mostly appears on parts of the body that get the most sun, such as the face, neck, scalp, hands, and arms. Basal cell carcinoma can appear in several different ways, including:

  • Pimple that doesn't go away
  • Flat or sunken skin growth
  • Reddish patch of dry skin that doesn't heal
  • Pale patch of skin
  • Waxy, translucent bump
  • Flesh-colored lesion
  • Brownish scar

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma also tends to appear on areas of the skin that get the most sun. However, it can also develop in scars or skin sores. Like basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma can develop as a lump on your skin. However, the lump is typically firm and rough on the surface. In addition to developing a lump on your skin, squamous cell carcinoma can also develop as reddish, scaly patches of skin.


Melanoma is often mistaken for a mole when it first appears. In fact, melanoma can develop from a mole. Because of this, it's important that you know where your moles are located on your body, and the general size and shape of each mole. If you have a mole that seems like it's growing or changing in appearance, you should have it checked as soon as possible. You should also have moles checked if they ooze, bleed, or look scaly. In addition to checking your moles on a regular basis, you also need to look for:

  • Bruises on your feet that don't heal
  • Brown or black streaks underneath your fingernails and toenails
  • New dark spots that look similar to moles, but grow quickly

The good news is that between skin cancer surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, skin cancer can be treated. However, it's important to get skin cancer treated before it progresses. So, take the time to regularly check your skin for any abnormal patches, and speak to your doctor immediately if any are found. To find out more, speak with someone like Countryside Dermatology & Laser Center.