Imagine two moles side by side. One is a bit darker than the surrounding skin, oval shaped and symmetrical. The mole right next to it has irregular borders. It looks like a spot of blood that never heals. These characteristics, irregularity, bleeding and lack of healing, should send the person to a dermatologist, for they might be signs of a malignancy.
Moles or nevi are concentrations of pigment on the skin. They can appear anywhere on the body and most of them are harmless. But sometimes what looks like a mole can actually be the beginning of a skin cancer. Anybody can get skin cancer, but people who are fair and red-headed are more at risk.
There are three main types of skin cancer:
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma or BCC is the most common and most often diagnosed of the skin cancers. It’s usually found on areas of the body that are exposed to the sun, such as the face, the nose and the backs of the hands, but like all skin cancers, BCC can appear anywhere on the body.
BCC is a slow growing cancer that rarely metastasizes, though if it is not treated it can be disfiguring. There are several kinds of BCC, and they present in different ways. Among them are:
• A domed growth that’s either the color of the surrounding skin or pinkish. Often, blood vessels can be seen inside it.
• A shiny, scaly patch that’s found on the body. It can be pink or red and may be mistaken for eczema.
• A hard, pale, scar-like growth that feels waxy.
• A sore that constantly bleeds, oozes, forms a crust and craters.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)