Change in sensation
A particular spot or sore on the skin that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode or bleed should not be ignored. Changes in sensation in the forms of itchiness, tenderness or pain can also be warning signs of melanoma.
An open sore
An open sore that does not heal within three weeks can be an early sign of skin cancer.
New pigmented area
A new pigmented area or splotch that appears darker than your normal skin tone can be a cancer sign. The darker skin area may be very small.
If you notice any of these signs and symptoms on your skin, do not overlook them. Make an appointment with a dermatologist to have them checked. At the same time, take precautions to prevent skin cancer.
- Avoid going out in the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- If you need to go out in the sun, cover up properly with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
- At least 30 minutes before going outside, apply a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Do this throughout the year.
- For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe once every month. Remember that melanoma may not necessarily begin as a mole, it can occur on otherwise normal-appearing skin as well.
- See your physician every year for a professional skin examination.