Learn to recognize the signs and symptoms of the three types
of skin cancer. Even melanoma, the deadliest form, can usually
be successfully treated if caught early. And remember, no
matter what your age, minimizing your exposure to ultraviolet
(UV) light will help reduce your risk of skin cancer and
Although melanoma can occur in normal skin, it often develops
in a pre-existing mole or other dark spot. Examine your moles
and look for these ABCDs:
Asymmetry. One half of the mole doesn’t match the
Border irregularity. The edges are often ragged, notched,
blurred or irregular, and the pigment may spread into the
Color. The mole may have shades of black, brown and
tan, or areas of white, gray, red, pink or blue.
Diameter. Melanomas are typically larger than a pencil
eraser, although early melanomas may be smaller.
Also look for changes in the surface of a mole, scaliness,
oozing, bleeding, or the appearance of a bump, spread of
pigment from the border into the surrounding skin, itchiness,
tenderness, or pain.
• Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
This may appear as a small, raised, smooth, shiny or pearly
bump that’s whitish to pink in color. Over time, it may crust,
ulcerate and bleed. BCC is slow growing and rarely invades
internal organs, but it can spread to nearby tissues if left
• Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
Most often this type of skin cancer appears as a raised, scaly,
crusty or wart-like bump, ranging in size from a pea to a
chestnut. SCC can spread internally if left untreated.