Skin cancers, like any other types of cancers, are symptoms that cannot be ignored. People who’re 65 and above have about 40 – 50% of possiblity to develop at least one skin cancer. Initially, these skin cancers will begin as precancerous lesions which include squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma.

Over time, these precancerous lessions will change from non-maglinant to maglinant, or to be more exact, skin cancers that may definitely trigger your health problem. It’s always wiser to equip yourself with the knowledge of skin cancers so that you can understand their symptoms while helping you to spot the early warning signs. Early detection is essential as it prompts you for further treatment. In most cases, skin cancers can be cured at the early stage.

Apart from the common precancerous lesions mentioned earlier, Markel cell carcinoma (seen on sun-exposed areas such as arms, legs, head and neck, and may also spread to other parts of the body), sebaceous gland carcinoma (aggressive precancerous lesion due to oil glands in the skin) and Kaposi’s sarcoma (commonly seen among people with weakened immune system) are some of the uncommon types of diagnosed skin cancers.

In the final stage, maglinant melanoma is always chronic and difficult to cure. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are types of non-melanoma skin cancers. Both are always cured when early diagnosis and treatment are given. In a nutshel, early treatment can increase the survival rate. People who had skin cancer at least once in their lives are advised to have a check-up at least once a year to avoid the recurrent skin cancer incidences. Ideally, they’re advised to check once a month.

Of all precancerous lesions, Basal cell Carcinoma is the easiest-to-treat skin cancer as it spreads slowly. It’s the most common seen skin cancers among the adults.

Basal cell Carcinoma’s tumor can appear over the neck, face, ears, chest or on the back in many forms, including a waxy bump or a pearly white, often accompanying with visible blood vessels, a flat, scaly, fresh-colored or brown patch (seen on the chest or back), and the rarely seen white, waxy scar.

Bowen disease always appears as reddish, scaly patches that may be crusted. Due to its appearance, it’s always mistaken for psoriasis, fungus, rashes or eczema. As it spreads outward on the surface of the skin, it gains its name as “insitu” squamous cell carcinoma. By contrast, the one that spreads inward to the interior of the body is called “invasive” squamous cell carcinoma.

Actinic Keratosis, or also known as Solar Keratosis, is an early sign of skin cancer found among people who age 40 or above, and can also be seen among the young adults. It’s a small, scaly patches appear elsewhere of the parts of the body, but they’re more commonly seen on the head, neck or hands, or parts of body that are exposed to excessive UV sunlight. People who’ve green or blue eyes, red hair, fair skin and blond are most at risk of Actinic Keratosis. Early diagnosis and treatment are always prompted to stop its development to a serious squamous cell skin cancer.

Melanoma is the most chronic and potentially deadly common skin cancer. It always starts in a form of a mole. The change in a pigmented area or the appearance of the mole characterizing the possible warning signs of melanoma. Therefore, I urge you to seek for a medical assistance if you notice your mole changes its color, shape or size. When your mole has an irregular edges, or more than one color, asymmetrical, itches, bleeds, or oozes, please consult your doctor as soon as possible.

Squamous cell carcinoma is a type of non-melanoma skin cancer that is usually seen on the lower lip, hands, nose, ears, and the forehead, and you may also find it elsewhere on the sun-exposed areas of your body. A firm red nodule, and a scaly growth that develops a crust or bleeds, or a sole that won’t heal over the time, marking its characteristics. It’s always curable if early treatment is given timely. If it progresses over the time, its treatment may be difficult as it’ll depend on the stage of cancer.

Actinic Cheilitis or also called Farmer’s lip, is a typical cancerous conditions seen particularly on the lower lips. Actinic Cheilitis can progress into invasive squamous cell carcinoma if it’s left untreated. Its common symptoms are the presence of persistent dryness and cracking, or scaly patches of the lips. However, its rarely seen symptoms may also include loss of the sharp border between the skin and lips, and prominent lip lines, or swelling of the lips.

This funnel-shaped growth that extends from a red base on the skin is called the Cutaneous horn. Its size may vary, but generally it appears as a few milimeter in length. It composes of compacted keratin or the same protein in nails that attacks fair-skinned elderly adults, to whom a history of excessive UV sun’ray exposure is significant.

Dysplastic Nevi or also called Aptical Moles, appears mostly on sun-protected or sun-exposed areas of the body, which is a type of skin problem that will later progress to cancer if left ignored. It may be raised or flat, or the smooth or rough surface of the skins, typically occurs in the mixed color of brown, red, tan and pink, and the irregular moles may be larger (about ¼ inch across or larger), accompanying with fading or notched borders.

The normal mole (nevus) is a benign growth which appears as flat, benign flat or raised patches on the skin, with its surface touches normally smooth, particularly developed in young adulthood, youth or adults. Its size is no larger than a pencil’s eraser. Typically, normal moles are either oval or round in shape. Over time, however, certain abnormal or atypical moles can develop into melanoma. So, it’s always nuisance to have moles developed over parts of your body, especially one gets them in the adult years.

It’s not always a case that moles are detrimental to your health. Nevertheless, having moles are not a pleasure thing to experience as certain moles may progress to cancer. So, you must screen the moles for cancer by examining your skin while having shower or bath. Make sure that you spot for any doubtful or abnormal new growth of moles at least once a month. People who’re pregnant, going through menopause or post-menopause life, teens, should pay special attention to moles. For male, melanoma is always found on the back, while for female, the lower leg. The attempt to make a thorough examination begins from your head to legs is deemed necessary in order to examine for any potential precancerous skin cancer signs. Also check other “hidden areas” (besides the scalp on your neck) that include areas between toes and fingers, the backs of the knee, soles of the feet, and the groin. Try to take a photo on moles every time you check on them to help you monitor for any new moles, suspicious growth or changes in moles.

Take note that any mole or fleckle that looks strange from the other moles, larger than a pencil’s eraser in diameter, should prompt you to check with a dermatologist as it might be a precancerous skin cancer. Now, let’s look at the steps below to screen moles for cancer.

  1. If you discover that your mole’s diameter is as big as or larger than pencil’s eraser, then you should seek for medical assistant immediately. For your information, a begin mole measures less than 6mm in diameter.
  2. Make sure that you check with a doctor if you observe that a portion of the mole raised from the skin or appears elevated. The mole that is growing, shrinking, changing color, becoming larger, or beginning to bleed or itch over days, is always required a medical attention and examination. This is due to that it might be a melanoma lesion, which changes in height or grows in size in a tremendous manner.
  3. You should never ignore the color change in a mole. Pay attention to the moles that appear in different colors as compared to others. Generally, normal moles are usually have a single shade of color, but moles that have shades of brown, black, tan, white, red, or blue are abnormal. Also check with a doctor, if you’ve moles that have many shades/ mixed shades, darkened or lightened moles.
  4. You should have your mole/moles checked with a dermatologist, if it has/ they have blurred, irregular, ragged border/borders or edge/edges. Bear in mind that melanoma lesion always has an uneven border or edge.
  5. Check for the mole’s asymmetry. Normal moles should be symmetrical in appearance. While checking your moles or freckles’ asymmetry, just draw a line that runs through the middle of the moles, and then you compare the two halves. If you notice half of the mole does not match perfectly with the other half, then take a quick action to consult with a doctor.
  6. Spotting a suspicious mole/ new growth is essential to prevent it progresses to a deadly skin cancer. If you come across a mole that oozes, aches, bleeds, swells, or one that’s tender, and it doesn’t heal, you’re advised to see a doctor as soon as possible, before it’s getting worst.

Though sun exposure is identified as a culprit of skin cancer, but it doesn’t mean that all precancerous skin lesions are caused by exposing to sunlight. Exposure to radiation treatment, heredity or environmental hazards is some of the contributors to skin cancers. Each of us may have a possibility to have skin cancer developed, but the risk is particularly highest for people listed below:

  • People who received radiation treatments
  • People who have light-colored eyes or fair skins
  • People who’re in a family history of skin cancer
  • People who have abundance of large, abnormal and irregularly-shaped moles
  • People whose exposure to sunlight is greatest
  • People who’ve blistering sunburns due to excessive UV sunlight’s exposure
  • People who inhibit with year-round sunshine or at high altitudes

To reduce your risk of skin cancer, you should:

  • Wear a hat and sunglasses while walking under the sun
  • Cover up your body with a proper clothing while you’re out
  • Apply sunscreen liberally, particularly over your ears and the lips while you’re out
  • Limit your exposure to UV sunrays, particularly between 10a.m and 4p.m., or when the sun’s rays are the strongest


When you discover any abnormal skin cancers or any new growths in your skin, change of the moles in their appearances, or soles that won’t heal, please don’t hesitate to seek for a medical treatment or see your doctor right way to enquire for further advice.

Skin problems are not just normal skin problems as they might be an early indication of precancerous or cancerous skins. Learn to spot and identify among them so that timely treatment and diagnosis can be conducted.

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