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Skin cancer signs: How to spot it early

girl in sunflowers

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, approximately 9,500 people in the United States are diagnosed with skin cancer every day.  

You can spot skin cancer signs early on using your eyes and a mirror: Pay attention to a change in skin, a growth on the skin, a sore that doesn’t heal, and a change in a mole on the skin. These are all potential symptoms of skin cancer.

“Most skin cancers are easily treatable if caught early so it is important to check your skin regularly,” says Ascension Medical Group dermatologist Kyle Rockers, MD.

That’s why it’s important to know these warning signs of melanoma, one of the most dangerous types of skin cancer:

A – Asymmetrical. Is the mole/spot an irregular shape with two spots that look very different?
B – Border. Is the mole/spot regular or jagged?
C – Color. Is the mole/spot unevenly colored?
D – Diameter. Is the mole/spot larger than the size of a pea?
E – Evolving. Has the mole/spot changed?

With skin cancer being diagnosed more than all other cancers combined, it also is important to take care of your skin and ensure that you and your family are protected from the sun’s harmful effects. Here a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Stay in the shade, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Wear clothes that cover the arms and legs.
  • Wear a hat that shades the face, head, ears and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays.
  • Use sunscreen with sun protection of 15 or more, with UVA and UVB protection.

“There is not one single feature that will help identify skin cancers, so if you are unsure about a new or changing growth or mole, it is best to have it examined by a dermatologist,” says Dr. Rockers.

To find a doctor in the Wichita area, Manhattan or Pittsburg, go to viachristi.org/doctors.

About Roz Hutchinson

Roz Hutchinson is a Wichita wife, mother and chief spoiler of six grandkids and three Chihuahuas, a die-hard women's basketball fan, and director of Communications and Public Relations for Ascension Via Christi.