Skin cancer, including melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma often start as growths or noncancerous lesions on your skin. These changes are not skin cancer but could become cancer over time if left untreated. Fortunately, skin cancer can be cured if it’s identified and treated early.
If you have signs of skin cancer, contact your melanoma specialists at MedStar Health’s Baltimore Cancer Network. They will provide you with the latest skin cancer treatment options and comprehensive care.
Early Warning Signs
An estimated 40 to 50 percent of people who live to the age of 65 will develop at least one skin cancer in their lifetime. In most cases, skin cancer develops on areas of your skin that are exposed to the sun. However, skin cancer can also form on other parts of the skin that rarely see the light of day. By learning to spot the early warning signs of skin cancer, you can help ensure possible skin cancer is found during the earliest stages when it’s most treatable.
The most important changes to look for and to discuss immediately with your MedStar doctor include changes in any mole as well as:
- Growth, bleeding or itching
- Asymmetrical appearance (left and right sides of mole do not look identical)
- Irregular, blurry or jagged edges
- Color change including loss, spreading, darkening, loss of color or the appearance of multiple colors
- Large size: a diameter greater than 6 mm (the size of a pencil eraser)
- Raised above the skin with an uneven surface
You should also consult your MedStar skin cancer specialists if you notice any lesions or areas of damaged skin. This includes lesions that:
- Appear smooth or waxy
- Grow in a cluster that is pink or red with a shiny or scaly appearance
- Heal and reopen repeatedly
- Form as a brown or black streak underneath a nail
Early detection is your greatest tool in fighting skin cancer because treatment is much more effective when skin cancer is caught in its early stages. Talk to your MedStar doctor about skin cancer during your regularly scheduled appointments or if you notice any specific changes to your skin or existing moles in particular.
Maryland Melanoma Center
MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
9103 Franklin Square Drive
Baltimore, MD 21237
Skin Cancer at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital
5601 Loch Raven Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21239