To identify the symptoms that may indicate the development of skin cancer there is an test, called ABCD, which is done by observing the characteristics of the blemishes and spots to check to see if the symptoms correspond to the cancer. The observed characteristics are:
- Asymmetry of the lesion: if half of the lesion observed is different from the other, it may be indicative of cancer;
- Rough edge: when the outline of the spot, mark or blemish is not smooth;
- Color: if the mark, spot or blemish has different colors, such as black, brown and red;
- Diameter: if the mark, spot or blemish have a diameter greater than 6 mm.
These characteristics can be observed at home, and can help to identify possible skin cancer lesions, but the diagnosis should always be done by a physician. Therefore, when you have a mark, spot or blemish with these characteristics it is recommended to make an appointment with the dermatologist.
The best way to identify any change in the skin is to observe the entire body, including the back, behind the ears, head and also the soles of your feet, about 1 to 2 times a year, facing the mirror. Irregular spots, marks, or blemishes that change in size, shape, or color, or wounds that do not heal for more than 1 month, should be evaluated.
A good option, to facilitate the test, is to ask someone to look at all of your skin, especially your scalp, for example, and take photos of the larger signs to watch their evolution over time.
Other symptoms that may indicate skin cancer
Although most skin cancers have the above characteristics, there are other symptoms that may also indicate the development of cancer. These symptoms vary according to the type of cancer and can be:
1. Symptoms of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer
The signs of non-melanoma skin cancer can be:
- A small white or reddish wound or lump on the skin that may cause itching;
- Wound or lump in the skin, which grows rapidly and forms a conical, accompanied by secretion and itching;
- A wound that will not heal and bleed for several weeks;
- Growing wart.
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are two types of non-melanoma cancer, more frequent, less severe, and easier to heal. However, squamous cell carcinoma when diagnosed at an advanced stage may in certain cases spread to other organs of the body.
2. Melanoma skin cancer
The symptoms of Melanoma skin cancer may be a pimple or dark sign on the skin, with irregular borders, accompanied by symptoms such as itching and peeling of the skin.
Malignant melanoma is the most dangerous skin cancer of all, and can cause changes in an already existing mark or spot, such as an increase in size and change in color or shape. The main cause of melanoma is prolonged exposure to the sun, hence the importance of using sunscreen daily and avoiding too much exposure to the sun.
When to go to the doctor
You should go to the dermatologist whenever you see changes in a mark, spot or blemish. In most cases, a sign with changes is not cancer and in these situations, the doctor may ask for periodic appointments to see if there have been changes to the skin, or even choose to remove the spot surgically to prevent the cancer from developing.
How is the diagnosis and treatment for skin cancer done
The diagnosis of skin cancer is done by a dermatologist or oncologist, who does a specific and detailed analysis of the spot, mark or blemish using a special magnifying glass, through ABCD examination, analyzing the shape, size, color and diameter of the spot. At the end of this test, if the doctor suspects skin cancer, he can ask for more tests, such as a biopsy of the lesion, for example. However, if the change is not cancer, the doctor may indicate other courses of treatment for the wound, such as pills or ointments.
The treatment of skin cancer depends on the type of cancer and the stage of the cancer, and may include performing surgery, radiotherapy or chemotherapy. In addition, the sooner skin cancer treatment is started, the more chances there is of cure.