Types of Skin Cancer
The warning alphabet for skin cancer is
A – asymmetrical shape: ex. oblong or patchy vs round
B – border or bleeding: clean vs blurry or jagged edges, or a spot that bleeds when touched or lightly scratched
C – color: patchy colors or a very dark center
D – diameter: anything bigger than a pencil eraser is no bueno
E – evolution or elevation: sudden changes in size, shape, diameter or color and a rough or raised surface
F – fried egg: moles that have a bull’s-eye or fried egg appearance and have a darker center
If you have any moles or spots that fit these descriptions, get thee to the dermatologist! Please be safe and check your skin routinely!
I personally have had three precancerous spots removed, and I’m an otherwise healthy mid twenties that usually avoids sunshine. My dad and granddad both had skin cancer cut off their face – granddad was stubborn and when he finally went in they had to cut a 2″x2″ chunk of skin off because he ignored it for months. A mid-thirties woman I knew had a mole on her back that she ignored, and by the time she finally went in to get it looked at the melanoma had spread and it was too late to do anything. She left behind two boys under the age of 15. My mid-sixties yoga teacher liked to use a tanning bed, and her husband had died the year previously. Thankfully she was comfortable enough to ask me to look at a spot on her shoulder blade that turned out to be picture perfect squamous cell carcinoma. She went into the doctor two weeks later and was able to get it all out in one biopsy.
Skin cancer can affect anyone, of any age, of any skin color. Please do your skin checks, and don’t ignore that one weird spot.