How To Check Yourself For Skin Cancer? Easy To Follow Guide

“Healthy skin is a reflection of overall wellness,” says Dr.Howard Murad.

It is true that your skin can tell you a lot about your health, it is the largest organ in your body and considered as important in diagnosing many diseases;

Therefore, you have to be aware of your skin changes.

However, I am not speaking about normal pimples, stretch marks, dark areas but more about serious changes that can tell if one may have skin cancer!

Skin cancer occurs when some abnormal changes happen to skin cells, suddenly they undergo certain transformation and multiple without control and quickly spread to other cells and may to other body organs.

There are three major types of skin cancer, which are melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma;

I will not confuse you with medical and scientific information or details about them. It is just enough to know the early symptoms of them.

In this context, you will know skin cancer causes, symptoms, risk factors, when to see a doctor, tips for screening and reducing the risk of having skin cancer.

  First, what are the causes of skin cancer?

  1.       Ultraviolet radiation.
  2.       Exposure to some chemicals.
  3.       Burns that lead to scars.
  4.       Repeated exposure to radiation like x-rays.

Second, what are the symptoms of skin cancer?

Skin cancer symptoms are tricky and many people may ignore it! Some lesions and changes are called precancerous lesions, they are not cancer but may develop into cancer over time and early detection can prevent their transformation.

Here are some of the symptoms you should worry about it:

  •    Dysplastic Nevus

Dysplastic Nevus or some doctors said “Atypical mole”.

What it looks like?

It looks like the mole but with irregular edges as well as it is slightly bigger.

What is its color?

It may have a mixture of colors from pink to brown.

Where is it commonly found?

It is found in areas that are frequently exposed to the sun but also may appear in areas that do not like breasts.

Should I worry about it?

No, you should not.

If you have dysplastic nevus, it does not mean that you have skin cancer, most of the dysplastic nevi are not cancerous, but you should keep your eyes on them if they have any changes in size, color or shape that is when you should consult a dermatologist.

  •    Actinic Keratosis

Actinic keratosis results from prolonged sun exposure over years, it develops so slowly with few percentages to be skin cancer.

What it looks like?

It looks like dry, scaly patch on areas that are most exposed to the sun like face, ears, lips, scalp, neck, and back of the hands. Moreover, it may be a flat or slightly raised patch with a hard surface in some cases.

What is its color?

Its color varies from pink, red and brown and has itching or burning sensation.

  • Moles

Moles appear when pigmented cells in our skin grow in groups.

What is it look like?

They are round or oval with even color and regular edges.

 Should I worry about them?

Moles are usually normal and not cancerous but they can turn into melanoma if they changed in color or shape.

  •    Actinic cheilitis

A skin condition that is caused by damaging lip epithelium, which is thinner, and less pigmented than other facial skin, therefore, excessive sun exposure can damage lip cell DNA and causes abnormal changes.

What is look like?

The lips appear to be dry with scaly lesions, tender, sore and inflamed.

Should I worry about it?

It is a precancerous condition and appears mostly on the lower lip and it may be developed to skin cancer if not treated early.

  •    Squamous cell carcinoma


It can be diagnosed by red nodule which is a rough growth that bleeds, doesn’t heal and forms a scab, it`s found on areas that are exposed to the sun, it can be treated if was detected on early stages.

  •    Basal cell carcinoma

A less life threatening than other skin cancer types because it spreads slowly. It starts as a small bump with visible blood vessels usually on face and neck. Moreover, it is the most common type of skin cancer and the easiest to treat.

  •    Melanoma

Melanoma is the most serious skin cancer type, However, it is not common.  It appears when a common mole undergoes abnormal changes.

ABCDEs of Melanoma

Dermatologists use these features to classify melanoma if you find one of these symptoms you have to consult a doctor urgently!

  •  Asymmetrical shape

Melanoma lesions have an asymmetrical shape, which differs from a normal mole that is round and symmetrical.

  •  Border

Indefinite irregular border distinguish melanoma from common mole.

  • Color

Melanoma usually has a mixture of more than one color.

  • Diameter

Its diameter is more than 6 millimeters.

  • Evolving

If a mole has, changes like growing bigger or smaller, raising from the skin and changing its color it should be checked.

Third, who has the risk of having skin cancer?

  1.       People who have fair skin
  2.       A family history of skin cancer
  3.       People who receive radiation treatment
  4.       Having too many moles with irregular shape
  5.       People who are exposed to the sun for many hours

Fourth, how can I do self-screening for skin cancer?

Unlike other cancer types that are hard to detect at home, skin cancer can be detected easily, Examine your body carefully once a month for irregular moles or abnormal skin patches, don’t forget the hidden areas between fingers in addition, behind ears.

Fifth, Skin cancer prevention!

As we have mentioned before that skin cancer caused due to many external factors, therefore, you can reduce the risk of having skin cancer by:

  •       Do not use tanning machines that expose you to ultraviolet radiation
  •       Be careful of having severe burns or spilling chemicals on your skin.
  •       Avoid prolonged sun exposure in summer; wear protective clothes as well as sunglasses
  •       Do not forget to apply sunscreen on your face with an appropriate SPF that suits your skin

At the bottom line, having one of the previously mentioned symptoms does not mean that you surely have skin cancer but they are maybe warning signs that you should pay attention for and consult a doctor to prevent their development into cancer.

 I hope that you find what you are looking for in this article, waiting for your reviews, have a good day!

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