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Warning Signs of Skin Cancer – Part 2

DCA Cancer

In our last article Warning Signs of Skin Cancer, we discussed the ABCDE’s of skin cancers but what are these skin discolorations?  Here are four of the common skin discolorations that are known to be signs of potential skin cancers.

Changes to Watch For..

Actinic Keratosis (Solar Keratosis)

Small, scaly patches caused by too much sun that occur commonly on the neck, head or hands but can be found in other places. These can be early warning signs of skin cancer but hard to tell if a particular patch will change over time and become cancerous. Most will not but early treat is recommended by doctors to help prevent development of squamous cell skin cancer. Blonde or red haired people with blue or green eyes as well as fair skin are at the highest risk.

Actinic Cheilitis (Farmer’s Lip)

Actinic cheilitis, related to actinic keratosis, a precancerous condition that appears mostly on the lower lips. Persistent roughness or scaly patches on lips may appear. Swelling of the lip, loss of a sharp border between skin and lip or prominent lip lanes are less common symptoms. This can evolve into invasive squamous cell carcinoma if not treated.

Cutaneous Horns

These appear as funnel-shaped growths extending from a red base on the skin, composed of compacted keratin which is the same protein found in nails. It has a specialized type of actininc keratosis. Most are a few millimeters long with the size and shape varying considerably. Found at the base of Cutaneous Horns is Squamous cell carcinoma. Cutaneous Horns usually occur in elderly fair skinned adults with a history of prolonged sun exposure.

Dysplastic Nevi (Atypical Moles)

Atypical moles are not cancer, but they can turn into cancer.  Found in sun exposed or protected areas of the body. These can be large, a quarter inch across or bigger with a more irregular shape, notched or faded borders, flat or raised, smooth or rough and mixed in color including pink, red, tan, and brown.

As with any changes in your body, if you find new or unusual skin discolorations, please see your doctor or dermatologist as soon as possible.  Early treatment is critical in a successful recovery.

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