Skin cancer affects people's skin in different ways, and can even cost lives. However, it is possible to detect it early, which means there is more chance of a successful outcome to the treatment. Be vigilant, and you should spot these early indicators of skin cancer before it's too late to get medical help.
A crusty pink growth
If you develop a round, pink-coloured growth with a crust and a raised centre, get it checked out. While it might be benign, it's always worth investigating any new growth that appears as soon as you notice it.
Open sores that bleed intermittently
You might notice an open sore that doesn't heal. It just seems to dry up a little, and then it starts bleeding again for no good reason. This could be a warning sign of a developing basal cell carcinoma which presents in cycles without completely healing. Any skin lesion that doesn't heal naturally within a few days needs investigating.
Patches of differently coloured skin
During the build up to skin cancer, you might notice small patches coloured red, black, white, milky or even brown, depending on your skin's natural pigments. Although this may merely indicate a mole, it shouldn't be ignored. See a skin specialist and have the symptoms checked out to determine whether it's just a mole or something more sinister.
A skin area with the appearance of a scar
Imagine touching your skin and feeling something like a scar when you haven't even been injured. This could be the surface indicator of a basal cell carcinoma, and if that's the case, it's probably several times larger than the scarred area suggests. The skin will have a waxy appearance, and a yellow or white hue. This type of basal cell carcinoma is very invasive, so early treatment is essential.
A large brown patch with darker areas
If a large area of your skin has a brownish appearance and dark speckles on or around it, head to the doctor straight away. It could be a melanoma, which is one of the most common types of skin cancer. It can prove fatal if treatment doesn't begin early enough.
Dark lesions on the body
Skin cancer can crop up on various of parts of the body such as the fingertips, nose, vagina, anus, soles of the feet, palms of the hands, toes, and even in the lining of the mucous membrane in the mouth. It's not confined to the bits you can see. Your skin may develop dark lesions, which could indicate the presence of melanoma.
A colour-changing mole
Another sign of melanoma is when a mole appears that keeps changing in colour and shape. It may grow and then shrink, and you will notice a change in sensitivity when you touch it. Sometimes it's painful, other times it's less sensitive. The mole may also bleed intermittently. As with other skin problems that don't heal in a reasonable time, get it checked out.