Know the Potential Signs of Skin Cancer

Know the Potential Signs of Skin Cancer

About five million people receive treatment for skin cancer annually, with one in five Americans developing skin cancer during their lifetime.

The American Academy of Dermatology encourages you to “Check Your Partner. Check Yourself.” to take part in Skin Cancer Awareness Month this May.

Because women are nine times more likely than men to notice melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – the campaign encourages women check their partner for warning signs. Men over 50 are more likely to develop melanoma than the general population.

Knowing the different types of skin cancers can save the lives of you and your loved ones.


The ABCDEs of melanoma will help you know if a mole or dark spot should be checked by a doctor.

  • A: Asymmetry: One half appears different than the other
  • B: Border: The spot may have a poorly defined and irregular border
  • C: Color: May have tan, brown and black tones; not uniform in color
  • D: Diameter: When diagnosed, the diameter is usually greater than 6 mm (pencil eraser)
  • E: Evolving: Changes in color, size or shape; appears different than other moles

Basal Cell Carcinoma

  • Often found on the arms, head and neck, this is the most common form of cancer
  • Will look like a flesh-toned bump or pink patch of skin
  • Can invade nearby tissue if not treated, growing into bones and nerves

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

  • Sores, red bumps or scaly patches that heal and then re-open
  • Found in frequently exposed spots such as face, ears, neck, arms and back
  • If diagnosed and treated early, it can be stopped from spreading to other parts of the body

Actinic Keratosis

  • These precancerous spots often appear on individuals with fairer skin
  • Often shows up in people over 40 years of age due to repeated sun exposure
  • Can become squamous cell carcinoma if not diagnosed and treated