How can you tell if a mole could be skin cancer?

Here in sunny Florida we all enjoy being out in the warm weather!  But with that enjoyment of the outdoors, we must all be aware of the skin lesions that could occur with excess sun exposure.

There are three major types of skin cancer: (1) squamos cell carcinoma, (2) basal cell carcinoma and (3) melanoma.  Although there are different types of skin cancer, there are common characteristics between them.  If noted by yourself or your doctor, these suspicious lesions should be biopsied to confirm whether the lesion truly is a skin cancer or a pre-cancerous lesion.  Here are the “ABC’s” of skin cancer detection:

  • Asymmetry: Is the lesion irregularly shaped?  Most cancerous lesions are not symmetric (i.e. a smooth circle)
  • Border: Is the border of the lesion irregular?  Skin cancer usually has mis-shapen, jagged borders that can change over time.
  • Color: Is the mole darkly discolored or has multiple shades of color within it?  Cancerous lesions can sometimes appear dark brown, black or a purplish color through part of the lesion or throught the entire lesion.
  • Diameter: Is the mole diameter greater than 1.0 centimeter?  The bigger the mole, the greater risk it has to become cancerous.
  • Elevated: Is the mole elevated along one part or all of the lesion?  Run your finger across the lesion, can you feel elevations in it?  If so, this is a characteristic of a cancerous lesion.

Usually moles that are suspicious for skin cancer have multiple characteristics noted from the above information.  If you are unsure whether a spot on your leg, ankle or foot could be cancerous, then call Advanced Podiatry at (813)875-0555 and schedule an appointment with our doctors for complete evaluation and care.  Don’t wait, call today!