What Does Skin Cancer Look Like?

Cancer is a serious and sometimes scary disease. Some forms of cancer are more common in certain populations, while skin cancer can happen to anyone at any time.

Overexposure to the rays of the sun is the most common reason that skin cancer develops, and the cancer can appear on any part of your body.

Our AFC Urgent Care Gastonia team wants you to be aware of any changing spots on your skin, so we explain what to look for when it comes to skin cancer below.

Are There Different Forms of Skin Cancer?

There are three major types that you can develop—basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma usually appear on areas of your body that are exposed to the sun, like your neck or face, and can look like a waxy bump, a red nodule or a bleeding sore that heals but then comes back repeatedly.

Melanoma can develop anywhere on your body. It can grow on a patch of normal skin or can develop in an existing mole. Melanoma spots can be brown patches, a painful lesion or a mole that changes in color or size.

Changes to Your Skin to Watch For

  • A new change to your skin, like a growth or sore
  • A changing mole
  • Skin itchiness
  • The appearance of a lump under the skin

Can I Prevent Skin Cancer?

The best way to avoid getting skin cancer is to respect the sun and avoid overexposure. Seek the shade when you are outside, and apply broad-spectrum sunscreen before going outdoors and every two hours thereafter to your exposed skin.

You should also avoid tanning beds completely. No exposure to UV rays is safe for your body, so direct and extended exposure to your skin in a tanning bed not only increases your risk of skin cancer but also for premature wrinkles and sun spots. While it is not possible to avoid the sun completely, take care of your skin and it will take care of you later in life.

Treating Sunburned Skin

  • Apply a cool, wet cloth to the skin.
  • Apply aloe gel or a moisturizing lotion.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Stay out of the sun while the burn heals.

Sun safety is crucial throughout your life. If you notice a change to your skin, come see us at AFC Urgent Care Gastonia.