Beyond Sunburn: 5 Warning Signs of Skin Cancer You Never Considered

Summertime is here to stay and that means keeping yourself and your skin safe and healthy. Although there are some obvious ways to monitor your health for skin cancer warning signs, a few may be unexpected indications.

With summer bringing some of the longest and hottest days of the year, it is an essential time to re-familiarize yourself with skin cancer concerns that go beyond abnormal moles:

  1. Dry scaly skin: Patches of skin known as solar keratoses are believed to be early warning signs of the second most-common form of cancer, squamous cell carcinoma. Nearly 58 million Americans are said to have the condition, however when caught early, it’s highly treatable by a dermatologist.
  2. Bumps or lumps beneath the skin: Fleshy or brown in color, lumps that persist for a few days to a week or more have the potential to be dangerous squamous cell carcinomas. These can be raised or beneath the skin and feel like a cyst or wart.
  3. Weeping or bleeding sores: Basal cell carcinomas can appear as exposed or bloody sores. They appear as scabbed skin that sometimes is known to develop after an extreme sunburn. The likelihood of this being or developing into cancer is fairly low, but still important to be mindful of, especially if it’s around the eyes or mouth.
  4. In your nailbed: Certain forms of cancer can appear as sensitive bumps near your nails or underneath the nail bed. Melanoma can appear as a dark streak under the nail and can also develop as noticeable spots on the palms of your hands or soles of your feet.
  5. Something completely different: In extreme cases, if/when melanoma metastasizes (spreads to other parts of the body), it can affect the surrounding area/s and organs. For example, if a melanoma develops near the lungs, shortness of breath can occur. If it is located on your head, headaches and blurry vision are common. Symptoms can vary and should not be assumed to be cancer. Be sure to consult your doctor before jumping to any conclusions.

And just as there are a few ways to be mindful of skin cancer warning signs, there are different ways to protect yourself against sun damage. Consider taking the B3 vitamin nicotinamide or moderating your alcohol consumption to decrease your overall risk. And as always, be sure to protect yourself in the sun by wearing the appropriate apparel and lathering up with sunscreen with a high SPF!

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, spot an irregular mole or have general concerns about the health of your skin, be sure to consult your primary care physician or a trusted dermatologist for an analysis.

Have you ever experienced a skin cancer scare? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!

Photo credit: Pexels

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