If skin cancer is found early, it is highly curable. But to find it early, you need to pay attention to your body, and particularly, your moles. You should check your moles for abnormal color, size, or evolution. The most important one of those is evolution, as a mole that develops new symptoms like itching or scabbing can be a sign of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Your doctor should be checking nearly all parts of your body for skin cancer, even between your fingers and toes, but the best way to catch it early is to pay attention to your own body. Here are seven warning signs of skin cancer you shouldn’t ignore.
1. You notice a mole that doesn’t look like the rest on your body.
Pay close attention to a mole that doesn’t look like the rest of your moles, or is the only mole on a particular part of your body. This “ugly duckling” mole, the one that isn’t like the rest, is usually the one that is a problem. Even moles you are born with can turn into skin cancer over time.2. There is a dark, vertical streak on your nail.
2. There is a dark, vertical streak on your nail.
Most people think you can’t get melanoma in your nail, but this isn’t true. A dark, vertical streak on your nail can be a sign of melanoma. It’s more common among African-Americans. Bob Marley was only 36 when he passed away from a melanoma of the nail that spread throughout his body. The streak will usually run the length of the nail, and can be easily mistaken for a blood blister. Experts recommend you remove nail polish or other nail coverings when you go for your routine skin check.
3. You have a pimple that won’t go away.
Sometimes skin cancer can just look like a pimple that won’t go away. It may also go away but then immediately come back in the same spot. Either of these symptoms should be examined by a doctor.
4. There’s a mole on the sole of your foot.
If there is a mole on the sole of your foot that is new or is continuing to change, then you should have it examined by a doctor. Most people don’t think to check the bottom of their feet for moles, but this is one of the spots most prone to skin cancer.
5. You’re having new problems with your vision.
The second most common type of melanoma other than skin cancer is of the eye. It can only be detected during eye exams when your pupils are dilated. Not all patients have symptoms, but those that do will have problems with their vision such as blurriness.
6. There are noticeable changes after you get a mole removed.
If you have a mole removed and colors begin to extend away from the original mole site, this is a concerning indicator that skin cancer is developing. A mole spreading in this manner means it is evolving, and could be cancerous even if the original mole was not. Tell your doctor about changes or developing pain in the area.
7. The inside of your cheek developed a black spot.
Another area where people do not expect that you can get melanoma is in the inside of your cheek, nose, or genitals. None of these melanomas are caused by the sun like normal melanoma. Because the beginnings of these kinds of melanoma are unknown, it is very important your doctor examines these areas.