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What Are the Different Methods of Skin Cancer Detection?

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  • Written By: Jackie Myers
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 27 June 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Out of all cancer types, skin cancer is the most common. Skin cancer detection does not require an x-ray or blood test. People can look for signs of skin cancer by examining their skin in the mirror, and doctors may request a skin tissue biopsy to confirm whether a person has skin cancer.

The three main types of skin cancer are melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Each has a different appearance on the skin. Basal cell carcinoma has raised, waxy bumps that may bleed if irritated. Melanoma appears as a brown or black skin lesion with irregularities in color, border, and symmetry. Squamous cell carcinomas are dark red, raised skin lesions.

One skin cancer detection method is a self check, which requires a thorough examination of one's body. Performing a self check at home requires a full-length mirror, handheld mirror, and a well lit area. Doctors can also perform this skin exam for patients. Experts recommend keeping a record of the dates on which self tests are performed. Taking photos of the skin and comparing them at later dates also helps in viewing changes.

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It is necessary to recognize early warning signs when performing a skin detection test. Individuals should be cautious of skin growths that appear multicolored and that increase in size. Any moles and birthmarks that change texture or appear after 21 years of age should be noted. An open sore that fails to heal within three weeks could indicate skin cancer. Any small spots that crust and scab on the skin should be watched.

If a suspected cancer lesion appears on the skin, a doctor will perform a skin biopsy, which involves removing for tissue sampling. A pathologist will look at the tissue under the microscope. The pathologists uses this skin cancer detection method to determine whether the lesion is cancerous and, if so, how advanced it is.

Skin cancer detection methods often help to find malignant lesions in their early stages. People must take the necessary precautions to protect themselves from ultra-violet rays. Wearing protective clothing, using sunblock, and avoiding exposure to the sun helps to prevent skin cancer. Experts recommend applying sunblock every two hours when exposed to the sun. The chemicals in sunblock absorb the energy of the ultra-violet radiation that causes skin cancer.

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