Could skin cancer change your life? Every day, an estimated 9,500 people receive the news that they have cancer, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Fortunately, self-exams and skin cancer checks offered by your Bend, OR, dermatologist, Dr. Gerald Peters of Peters Dermatology Center, can help you protect your skin and your health.
Signs that may mean that you have skin cancer
Skin cancer signs and symptoms aren't usually dramatic, which can make them easy to overlook. Do you have a pimple that never goes away or clears up, then comes back again? That spot may not actually be a pimple but could be caused by squamous or basal cell skin cancer. These types of skin cancers can also cause:
- Sores that don't heal
- Brown, black, red, or pink spots on your skin
- A patch of red, flaky, or crusty skin
Squamous and basal cell skin cancers don't usually spread to other parts of your body but can affect the tissues and bones underneath the cancer without prompt treatment.
Unlike squamous and basal cell skin cancers, melanoma can spread. You may notice a change in a mole if you have melanoma. Melanoma signs and symptoms can include:
- Shape Changes: The shape of your mole may change or you may notice that one part has become bigger than the rest of the mole.
- Color: Moles that turn red, brown, black, or pink should be checked out by your dermatologist.
- Changing Borders: A mole affected by melanoma may have a blurred, rough, or irregular border.
- Texture Changes: Your normally smooth mole may become bumpy or rough.
- Pain or Bleeding: Bleeding, itching, pain, and swelling can be signs of skin cancer.
How your dermatologist can help you
If your skin doctor sees a spot or mole that could be a sign of skin cancer during your visit to the Bend, OR, dermatology office, he'll remove it and send it to a lab for testing. Keep in mind that a spot on your skin or a change in your mole doesn't automatically mean that you have cancer. If you are diagnosed with skin cancer, your dermatologist will recommend treatment options depending on the type and stage of cancer.
Are you concerned that a suspicious mole or spot on could be skin cancer? Contact your dermatologist in Bend, OR, Dr. Peters of Peters Dermatology Center, at (541) 323-7546 to schedule your appointment.