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While summer opens up opportunities for sunbathing, leisure days, and outdoor activities you avoid during the winters in Ocala, Florida,  it is also the perfect time to raise skin cancer awareness. As with any disease, the best way to cure skin cancer is early diagnosis.

Unfortunately, most of the time, skin cancers are asymptomatic. People may occasionally see a scaly spot or a red patch that becomes more tender and red over time, but those are rare cases. This is why it is important to be consistent with your annual checkups and screenings.

However, even a year can give cancer cells sufficient time to grow and multiply. Therefore, if you see anything unusual or out of the blue, it is important to notify your dermatologist in Ocala, Florida about it immediately.

Since there aren’t any definite signs of skin cancers in most cases, it can be hard to determine what to look for. Nevertheless, there are some early signs that you can keep an eye on. Following are some common types of skin cancer and the signs that may accompany them.

1.    Melanoma

This is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Melanoma is usually a pigmentation that will resemble a mole. Due to its resemblance to normal moles, most people miss out on melanoma during its early stages. Of course, you don’t need to visit the doctor for the moles you’ve already had for a long time. However, it is important to keep an eye on any type of change.

With 7,940 recorded cases this year, Florida ranks second in the highest when it comes to melanoma cases in the United States. If you notice a mole on your body that wasn’t there before or even feel that you notice something different about an old mole, it may be a good time to consult a doctor about it. In addition to that, the following signs could indicate melanoma.

  • The mole or pigmentation would most likely be asymmetrical. This means that if it is cut down in the middle, both sides ill look different.
  • The mole border would likely be irregular, ragged, or scalloped, unlike the smooth border of a normal mole.
  • A normal mole is usually one uniform color. If you notice more than two to three colors in the mole, it should raise suspicions.
  • A mole bigger than 6 millimeters – roughly the size of the eraser at the back of a pencil – needs to be screened by a dermatologist in Ocala, Florida.
  • Lastly, you should never ignore any change in an old mole or the development of a new mole.

2.    Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer and is usually a result of damage caused by harmful UV rays. Therefore, it is usually found on the parts of the body exposed to the sun or tanning beds. This includes the head, neck, hands, arms, legs, ears, upper back, and chest. It is a slow-growing type of cancer. However, unlike other types of skin cancer, it can spread to the bones, tissues, and nearby lymph nodes.

It is important to detect squamous cell carcinoma early or, as it may be harder to treat it if it spreads to those areas. This type of skin cancer can appear in various ways. Since you likely spend a good amount of time in the sun, it is important to stay aware of these common ways squamous cell carcinoma could appear on the skin.

  • A growth on the skin that has raised edges and a dent in the middle. It might bleed or itch as well.
  • A red and scaly patch of skin that bleeds easily. It would be rough and scaly, which would make it painful to touch.
  • An open sore that still hasn’t started healing after a few weeks.
  • A bump that looks like a wart and is in the shape of a dome.

3.    Basal Cell Carcinoma

This is the most common type of skin cancer. Basal Cell Carcinoma may start as small and unsuspicious spots. However, if left alone without proper treatment by a dermatologist in in Ocala, Florida, they start getting bigger. Luckily, it is treatable and can easily be removed with surgery. The chances of a successful surgery, of course, depend on the early diagnosis of cancer.

Following are some of the ways basal cell carcinoma may appear on your skin.

  • A bump that continues to bleed. Initially, it may look like a bump or a big pimple. However, unlike a regular pump, this bump will continually bleed, heal itself, then split open again.
  • A bump that looks like a regular mole but is shiny. This is usually red, pink, or white, but can occasionally be brown, black, or tan.
  • A white or yellow scar-like spot that appears to be shiny. This can be a very aggressive form of basal cell carcinoma. So if you notice anything like that, consult a dermatologist in Ocala, Florida as soon as possible.
  • It is also important to note that Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma can have similar signs. So any symptom that may indicate Basal Cell Carcinoma could actually be indicating Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and vice versa.

Bottom Line

The health of your skin is as important as what goes on your plate. Being proactive about your skin health is extremely important. Visit your dermatologist in Ocala, Florida, for regular checkups. The general recommendation is to get a full-body scan at least once a year. In case you have any risk factors or a family history of skin cancer, your dermatologist may recommend more frequent visits to be on the safe side.

However, if you notice any of the above signs or symptoms, book an appointment with your dermatologist sooner than later. If you live in Ocala, Florida, consider visiting Suncoast Skin Solutions for a checkup. It could save your life!

SunCoast Skin Solutions Dermatology offices are located in Tampa / Hillsborough, St. Pete / Pinellas County, Brandon, Lutz, Winter Haven, Largo, Riverview, Brooksville, Ocala, and Daytona Beach, Sarasota, Punta Gorda, Seminole, Florida. Contact us at 1-844-786-3376 or click here.