What Do They Look Like?
Precancerous skin changes and skin cancer have characteristic appearances
and are often curable when detected and treated in early. Health care
professionals are able to evaluate many skin abnormalities. A primary
care physician may be the first health care professional you go to if
you notice something suspicious on your skin. Dermatologists
are physicians with extensive training in skin care and skin disorders,
particularly skin cancer. Your primary care doctor may refer you for an
initial assessment with a dermatologist if your condition needs further
evaluation and/or treatment.
The first step in detecting abnormalities that may be skin cancer begins
with you. The single most important feature that may signal the presence
of a skin cancer is a new, changing, enlarging skin growth that persists.
Look for changes in color, size, thickness and surface texture of a mole
or other suspicious skin lesions. Sores that won't heal may also indicate
cancerous or precancerous conditions of the skin that need attention.
Examine your skin once a month for any suspicious changes. Not all skin
cancers are symptomatic, many are painless. Early treatment is critical.