Skin cancer is incredibly common, but it can also be incredibly dangerous if not treated quickly and properly. The best way to prevent and detect skin cancer is to regularly see dermatology doctors in Fort Collins and protect your skin from the sun. It’s also helpful to know the warning signs to catch cancer before it spreads. Pay attention to your skin so you can notice anything unusual or changes to your face. Here are five signs of skin cancer on your face.
New or Unusual Growths
Regularly examine your face in the mirror to look for any new or unusual growths. These areas can start small but often look like rashes or sores. They can be unusual in their shape, size, or color and are often splotchy or discolored. Growths can be firm or soft and come in a variety of colors and translucencies. New or unusual growths can be a sign of skin cancer if they don’t go away and seem to linger on the face. Any new growth or spot on your skin has a cause, so paying attention to your skin and alerting your dermatologist of any changes can help determine if that cause is skin cancer.
Changes to Existing Moles
A mole on its own isn’t a sign of skin cancer, but people with moles tend to be at a higher risk to get skin cancer. The real danger comes if the mole starts to grow or change. A changing mole is a sign that the cancer is growing or changing under the skin. The mole can take on a number of changes, including changing its size, shape, or feel, such as becoming harder, softer, or more scaly than normal. Changes to moles can also include redness or swelling around the outside of the mole. Pay attention to the size and shape of your moles, especially if they are irregularly shaped, as they can be an early sign of skin cancer.
Itchy or Tender Skin
Skin cancer can initially appear as an itchy patch of skin that is red and tender. It may first seem like a rash that doesn’t respond to treatment or go away over time. The skin may also be tender and bleed or ooze when touched. Itchy or tender skin doesn’t have to be raised or look like a mole to be a sign of skin cancer. It often starts small and grows over time. Areas of itchy or burning skin are an early sign of melanoma, which is the most common form of facial skin cancer.
Sores That Don’t Heal
The skin on our face is also susceptible to sores that don’t heal or that heal and then come back. If you find an unexplained sore on your face that doesn’t scab over or heal fairly quickly, it could be a sign of skin cancer. These sores are especially common and dangerous on areas of the face that are regularly exposed to the sun.
Unusual Looking Skin Areas
There are numerous types of skin cancer, which means there can also be numerous signs and signals. Some skin cancers manifest themselves with patches of skin that might not be red or itchy but that don’t look like the rest of the skin. This can include skin that is paler than the skin around it or that has a waxy translucent bump. Areas of the skin can also take on a flat, yellow appearance, similar to the look of scar, or small pink or red bumps with brown or black areas. If areas of the face start to look unusual for reasons you can’t explain, it could be a sign of skin cancer and means you should see a doctor.
Most skin cancer is preventable, especially with the right skin protection and regular visits to dermatology doctors in Fort Collins. Although no one can ever avoid skin cancer with total certainty, protecting your skin and paying attention to these five warning signs of skin cancer can help pinpoint issues and find treatment before the cancer spreads.