Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer anywhere in the world today, due in equal parts to the country’s proximity to the equator (and the high UV levels that are common as a result), a population with fair skin that isn’t suited for such a climate, and a general love of the great outdoors. Apart from the enthusiasm for being outside, there isn’t much about this that can be changed or controlled. What you do have a say in, however, comes down to how mindful you are about skin cancer detection for you and your loved ones. Knowing how to spot skin cancer when it comes to areas like your scalp, lips and feet is vital.
Skin cancers are fairly consistent across the body in appearance as they begin to develop — you should always be extra mindful of moles that either change rapidly or grow in size, for example. Moles and lumps that are decidedly irregular in appearance are also major warning signs.
Having said that, there are a few unique attributes that you should watch on your scalp, your lips, and your feet in particular moving forward.
Your Scalp: Skin Cancer Signs to Watch Out For
The appearance of various forms of skin cancer on your scalp will actually vary a great deal depending on exactly which form you’re talking about. Basal cell skin cancer (commonly referred to as BCC), for example, usually appears first in the form of a flat or raised spot that is usually pink in colour. These affected areas can bleed quite easily. It’s important to note that these areas can also be shiny, rough, or crusty and can also look like a slightly discoloured patch of skin.
Basal cell is the most common form of skin cancer in existence, but it is also the slowest spreading. If you see something on your scalp that looks like one of the signs described above, get to a doctor as soon as you can.
Squamous cell skin cancer, also referred to as SCC, likewise takes the form of a rough or scaly patch. The major difference is that this affected area can also become raised, firm, red, or even crusty over time. Squamous cell skin cancer is very common on the scalp and lips in particular, so be mindful of any warning signs that start to develop and monitor those areas closely over time.
Melanoma, on the other hand, usually takes the form of a brown or black raised lump with dark, irregular colours and borders. Note that this can also take the form of a pinkish raised lump or mole that quickly begins to grow in size. Scalp melanomas are usually more lethal than the others as the scalp has a highly concentrated level of blood vessels and lymphatics, all of which aid in the cancer’s ability to spread.
Skin Cancer and Your Lips: What You Need to Know
Basal cell skin cancer is actually less likely to appear on your lips than other forms, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t impossible. If it does appear, it is typically more likely to do so on your upper lip. Pay attention for any pink spots that develop that are tender to the touch and bleed quite easily.
Squamous cell skin cancer is the most common form to appear on your lips and will usually take the form of a scaly red patch that, like BCC, bleeds quite easily. Sometimes SCC can even appear as a painful ulcer or other non-healing sore. This form of skin cancer is more likely to appear on your bottom lip as opposed to the top.
Melanomas can appear on your lip, but again, they’re usually darker in colour. Never underestimate how important the colour of something is in terms of proper skin cancer detection and diagnosis.
Your Feet: The Important Skin Cancer Signs You’re Missing
Finally, we have the feet — typically the last place that people think of when looking for signs and symptoms of skin cancer. Basal cell skin cancer is actually the most common type to appear in this area and can look like a mole, a scar, or even a rough spot that you can’t quite explain. Once again, these areas tend to bleed easily and are particularly prone to becoming uncomfortable when you’re sweaty.
Squamous cell skin cancer usually appears on your feet as a red or scaly plaque, signifying that the cancer is still in its early stages. This is also commonly referred to as Bowen’s Disease. The skin cancer has not had the opportunity to develop into full-blown SCC yet, so there is still time to act.
Melanomas on your feet are rare in general, but this means that they are often sadly overlooked. Acral Lentiginous Melanoma is the most common form of melanoma to appear on your feet and usually involves the development of a light-coloured patch of skin. This will be hard for most people to see at first, making it is essential for you to be extra vigilant at all times.
MoleMap: The Skin Cancer Detection You Can Count On
MoleMap was designed to be the fastest and most accurate method for detecting skin cancer available anywhere in the world today — a goal that we’re happy to report that we’ve been able to live up to.
If you already fall into a high-risk group for skin cancer based on your age, your family history, or other factors, or if you’d just like to be as forward-thinking as possible about your own health, please don’t delay — contact MoleMap today.
You should also head to our website and fill out our risk assessment calculator, which can instantly paint a much more vivid picture about your own personal situation and what you can do about it moving forward.