Going for hikes on a trail, taking a dip in a pool or soaking up the sun at the beach can be great pastimes, especially during sunny summer days. Although getting adequate vitamin D is always recommended by physicians, proper precautions or awareness of sun exposure damage are often overlooked. Fun in the sun can become very dangerous if you are not properly prepared with sunblock or accessories like hats.
Although overexposure to UV rays, tanning beds and time in the sun are common causes of skin cancers, there are also other factors that can increase your risk. Here are some risk factors to be aware of:
- Having a family member with a history of skin cancer
- Fair skin (especially if you have blond or red hair)
- Receiving numerous X-ray treatments (this may take many years before it poses a significant risk)
- Having immune-weakening diseases such as lymphoma or HIV
- Bad burns or scars that were exposed to UV rays
- Smoking cigarettes
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. and skin cancer rates will continue to rise over the next 15 years. There are three basic types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma (BCC), melanoma, and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). BCC is the most common type of skin cancer and is usually located in areas most exposed to sunlight like the neck, face, hands, and arms. Melanoma primarily refers to moles that appear on the body and is considered the deadliest type of skin cancer.
SCC is similar to BCC, but SCC includes cancer found inside the mouth, on the lips, or around a person’s genitals, and stems from pre-existing conditions caused by diseases or genetics. However, skin cancer is treatable and catching it early on can greatly increase the chances of survival. The following are 11 skin cancer signs to look for that may be melanoma.
11. Unevenly Shaped Moles
If you cut it in half, do both sides match? Asymmetrical moles are a common sign of melanoma.
10. Mole with Jagged or Irregular Edges
Normal moles are typically smooth and have an even edge. Irregular edges can be a warning sign of melanoma.