Identifying Skin Cancers

Skin cancer is more common than all other types of cancer combined. More than 90 per cent of skin cancers are the cumulative result of a lifetime’s exposure to ultraviolet light. In other words, even if you’ve been using sunscreens and protecting your skin from the sun for decades, the unsafe sun you got as a child and the tanning lamps you used as an adolescent count as ultraviolet exposure.

Skin cancer occurs when skin cells divide rapidly and grow without any order. Some of these deviant skin cancer cells spread to other parts of the body to form new tumours. See your doctor immediately if you spot any of the following signs:

–  A crusty, red bump or sore that intermittently or continuously bleeds
–  A flat, reddish spot that is rough, dry, or scaly
–  A smooth, shiny, waxy, or pale bump that is 6 mm (1/4 inch) or less in diameter
–  A mole that is asymmetrical, has a jagged border, changes size or color, or is greater than 6 mm (1/4 inch) wide.

The sooner a scar is treated after forming, the more successful the results. If you suffer from acne, had a mole excised, or had past skin cancer removed, ask your doctor about treatments to soften a scar’s appearance.