Skin cancer occurs when cells in your largest organ – i.e., the skin – start to proliferate in an uncontrolled, unorderly way. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in the United States, and it is highly treatable if caught early.
So, do you know what skin cancer looks like exactly? Let’s talk about the common types of skin cancer, what each type looks like, and where you can go in Athens, Georgia, to get dermatology screening and treatment.
Skin Cancer Types Based on the Type of Skin Cells Affected
Skin cancer appears differently in different people because everyone’s skin is distinct. That said, everyone has the same three types of skin cells in the epidermis, or the top layer of the skin: squamous cells, basal cells, and melanin cells. Their respective skin cancers are as follows:
Squamous Cell Carcinoma. If squamous cells (the flat cells present on the surface of the epidermis) are where your skin cancer developed, the cancerous growths will look like thick patches of rough, scaly skin. You may also notice signs of sun damage, such as dark pigment and wrinkling around the cancerous growth.
The cancerous squamous cells may also form a firm, pink nodule or a rough, scaly lesion that might itch, bleed, and/or become crusty. Other warning signs of squamous cell carcinoma are:
- A horn-shaped or dome-shaped growth
- A wart-like growth
- Sores that never heal
Basal Cell Carcinoma. The cancer of basal cells (the cells present just beneath squamous cells, literally at the “base”) may appear as a pearly or waxy bump, a bleeding or scabbing sore that heals and returns, or a flat, brown, or flesh-colored scar-like lesion. Basal cell carcinoma growths may also appear as a red patch or a bump on the skin.
Melanocyte Carcinoma (Melanoma). The cancer of melanocytes (cells that create a pigment that gives your skin color) is called melanoma, which is the most serious type of skin cancer. Melanoma appears as a brown, black, red, pink, or tan pigmented patch or bump, or as a mole that changes in size and color and may bleed. These lesions may also look like small, scaly, odd-colored spots on the skin’s surface, especially in areas that are exposed to the sun.
What Should I Do if I Might Have Skin Cancer?
Anything on your skin that looks unusual and doesn’t go away within four weeks, or is changing its appearance rapidly, can be a sign of skin cancer. Therefore, it is in the best interest of your health to see a skilled dermatologist for further testing, diagnosis, and possibly treatment.
Skin Cancer Treatment in Athens, GA
If you suspect skin cancer and seek proper diagnosis and treatment, reach out to Georgia Skin Cancer & Aesthetic Dermatology. Our dermatologists have years of experience in preventing, diagnosing, and treating the full spectrum of skin problems and diseases, including skin cancer.
If you would like to know more about the telltale signs of skin cancer and to schedule an appointment with one of our outstanding dermatologists, call our friendly staff today at (706) 543-5858 or request an appointment via our online form now. We look forward to helping you prevent and defeat skin cancer!