Cancer is a condition where your body’s cells grow uncontrollably and cause a tumor. The cancer can then spread to other areas.
You can get cancer anywhere, but there are a few body parts that are susceptible. The skin, your largest organ, is one of those places.
Be on the lookout for any of these risk factors: fair skin, history of sunburns or excessive sun exposure, living in sunny or high-altitude climates, lots of moles, precancerous lesions, family or personal history of skin cancer, weakened immune system, exposure to radiation or substances like arsenic.
1. Rough, Scaly Patches
Keep a look out (and feel for) for rough, scaly patches that may range from brown to dark pink. You will often find them on a fair skinned person with a history of sun damage.
These will often appear on the face, head and hands. These rough patches are called actinic keratoses and are precancerous skin lesions.
2. Pearly or Waxy Bump
A pimple the doesn’t come to a head or changes sizes, keep an eye on it. If you develop a waxy bump under the skin or a bump has a sunken center, have a professional take a look at it.
A waxy or pale bump can be a basal cell carcinoma.
3. Flat, Flesh-Colored or Brown Scar-Like Lesion
If you have a sore that won’t heal, has a sunken center or bleeds easily, have a doctor take a look at it. There are several reasons for scabs that won’t heal.
One of them is a basal cell carcinoma. This type of cancer is commonly found on the head, face, neck, hands and arms. It generally not aggressive and is easily treated.
4. Firm, Red Lesions
If you see a firm, dull red lesion that develops a sunken center or ulcerates, see a doctor. An ulcerated area might growth another ring of tissue inside the original area or develop as a crusty patch in a different color or refuse to heal.
It may look like a pimple or boil but won’t go away. These are most likely on the face, ears and hands.
Darker skinned people may develop lesions on areas not exposed to the sun.
6. Flat Lesion with a Scaly, Crusted Surface
Flat lesions that develop a scaly surface or refuse to heal, like the previous lesions, may be squamous cell carcinomas.
These types of cancers can occur on the skin or even in the respiratory tract, GI tract, and hollow organs. They are not generally deadly but may become so. They can be disfiguring or cause scars, so treat early.