A WOMAN was left shocked after what she thought was a pimple above her lip turned out to be skin cancer.
Tracy French, from Arcadia in Canada, had dismissed the light pink mark as a blemish when she first spotted it a few years ago.
Tracy first discovered a light pink spot above her lip a few years ago but it soon turned into a red, scaly patch[/caption]
However, she decided to visit her doctor when the spot had turned into a red, scaly patch several months later.
Tracy said: “It looked like a pimple, then it would go away, and then it would turn into a little scab and turn scaly.
“I kind of – for a little while – didn’t think anything about it.”
Despite this, her dermatologist was concerned much earlier, adding: “It did look like a pimple at first, but then eventually it turned into something a little bit harder. It had a little scale on it.”
Tracy had dismissed the light pink mark as a blemish when she first spotted it a few years ago[/caption]
Dr Chi then ordered a biopsy of the pimple and she was soon diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, which is the second most common form of skin cancer.
The cancer most often forms on the head, neck, and back of the hands – areas that are frequently exposed to the sun – and appears as a scaly, red patch or as an open sore.
Signs and symptoms of skin cancer
Changes to a mole or freckle can be a sign of skin cancer, which is why it’s so important to see your doctor straight away.
The most common sign of skin cancer is a change to a mole, freckle or normal patch of skin.
It’s important to know your skin and what it looks like normally so you notice any unusual or persistent changes.
Use a mirror, or ask your partner or a friend to check the areas of your skin that you can’t see.
Symptoms of basal cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) are more likely to develop on skin that is regularly exposed to the sun, especially on the face, head and neck.
- be smooth and pearly
- look waxy
- appear as a firm, red lump or may look sunken in the middle
- appear as a pearly brown or black lump if you have darker skin
- feel itchy and bleed sometimes
- develop a crust or scab
- begin to heal but never completely heal
- look like a flat, red spot that is scaly and crusty
- look like a pale non-healing scar
- develop into a painless ulcer
Symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma
SCCs usually develop in areas that have been damaged by sun exposure. In people with pale skin, they are mainly found on the face, neck, bald scalps, arms, backs of hands and lower legs.
In people with darker or black skin, SCCs are more likely to affect areas that have less or no sun exposure. These include the lower legs, torso, genitals or areas where there has been long-term scarring, for example after a burn.
- look scaly
- have a hard, crusty scab
- look pink or red
- make the skin raised in the area of the cancer
- feel tender to touch
- bleed sometimes
Dr Chi has recommended using a sport suncream or a stick sunscreen that is less greasy than the traditional sunscreen as well as an SPF lip balm.
Tracy subsequently had surgery to remove the affected area above her lip and has since been declared cancer-free.
Get your whole body checked. Cause things can pop up, overnight.
She now says she wants others to be more vigilant about protecting their skin following her scare.
She added: “Come and see your dermatologist and get your whole body checked. Cause things can pop up, overnight.”
Tracy’s dermatologist ordered a biopsy of the pimple and she was soon diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma[/caption]
Just last month it was revealed that skin cancer rates in the UK have risen by 45 per cent in ten years.
The study by Cancer Research UK also found rates of skin cancer have increased by 35 per cent for women and 55 per cent for men.
More on skin cancer
On top of this, the researchers noted that getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple the risk of melanoma.
Michelle Mitchell, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: “While some might think that a tan is a sign of good health, there is no such thing as a healthy tan, it’s actually your body trying to protect itself from harmful rays.”
Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK and the second most common cancer in people aged 25 to 49 – although 90 per cent of melanoma cases could be prevented by looking after your skin and applying sunscreen regularly, both in the UK and abroad.
Tracy has urged others to be more vigilant about protecting their skin following her scare[/caption]
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