It’s a question that we’ve all grappled with at some point: How do you know if you should be worried about skin cancer?
We’re here to help. Take a look at some of the warning signs of skin cancer and conditions that would put you at increased risk and steps you should take.
What Increases My Risk of Skin Cancer
- Family history of melanoma-in first degree relatives like parents, siblings or children
- Personal history of any type of skin cancer- Basal Cell Cancer, Squamous Cell Cancer or Melanoma.
- Precancerous actinic keratoses
- More than 50 moles
- Red hair (increased risk of melanoma)
- History of severe sun damage or sun burns
- History of tanning booth use- even if only a few times! This is magnified if you continue to use them.
Now that we know what can increase your risks for skin cancer, let’s talk more about what the warning signs of skin cancer look like.
What are the Warning Signs of Skin Cancer
1. Changing moles.
Your moles can play a key role in helping you stay on top of your skin health, as any mole changes are often warning signs of skin cancer.
The biggest mole changes to look out for include:
- Changes in size
- Changes in color
- Changes in shape
- Growth in size
- Crusting, erosions or changes in texture
Impact Melanoma has a great collection of resources to help you learn more about what to look out for with your moles.
2. New growths.
If you notice any new growths on your skin, this could be a sign that you need to get your skin checked by a board certified dermatologist. These new growths could include:
- New brown lesions that are irregular in shape or color (if you notice these, schedule an immediate appointment, as this could be a worrying sign of melanoma)
- Pink shiny lesions (this could be a symptom of Basal Cell Cancer)
- Scaly or tender lesions (this could be a sign of Squamous Cell Cancer)
If you have any new or changing lesions please see a board certified dermatologist as soon as possible. They can evaluate your skin lesions and determine whether they are suspicious, and require a biopsy or other removal, or are benign such as an age spot or innocent mole.
When skin cancers are identified early they can be safely removed and will no longer cause you any risk. However when identified later, particularly Melanoma and Squamous Cell Cancer can be deadly.
If you’ve had cancerous lesions in the past, it’s important to stay on top of your skin cancer checks, as these skin cancers tend to frequently recur. If you’ve had skin cancer before, schedule a skin cancer check every six months to one year to stay on top of new or changing lesions.
“I love, Love, Love this practice!! Dr. Nordan goes above and beyond. I have been seeing her for over 10 years and I would recommend her or any of these docs (who I’ve also seen). They are absolutely fabulous!!!” *
What Happens Next?
If you have one or more of the above skin cancer warning signs, it may be time to schedule a skin cancer check at Krauss Dermatology.
In our practice, only our MDs perform skin checks. Many years are spent honing our skills and using our eyes and dermatoscopes to help us identify risky skin lesions. Getting your skin checked by our team of experts means you can feel confident and reassured about our assessments.
Take the Next Step – Request a Consultation
Want to learn more about the warning signs of skin cancer, or schedule a skin cancer check?
Please fill out the form on this page to request a consultation, or call our Wellesley Hills, MA office directly to schedule – (781) 416-3500.
Krauss Dermatology serves the greater Boston area.