Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in the United States. In fact, more people get skin cancer every year than all other kinds of cancer combined. One out of every five people will get skin cancer by the time they turn 70. While you may be aware of how common skin cancer is, what you might not know is that there are different kinds of skin cancer that can affect your aging relative.
Below are 3 of them.
#1: Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cells are skin cells that make new skin cells when old ones die. Basal cell carcinoma starts in those cells. It commonly occurs on parts of the skin that are frequently exposed to the sun, like the head and neck. Basal cell carcinoma can look like:
- A translucent bump that is pearly white, pink, or the same color as the skin.
- A dark spot that is blue, black, or brown and has a translucent border.
- A spot that is red in color, flat, and scaly. The edge of the patch is raised.
- A spot that looks like a scar with a white, waxy appearance.
Melanoma is the most dangerous kind of skin cancer because it spreads easily. It begins in melanocytes, which produce the melanin that gives skin its color. To identify melanoma, experts say to look for symptoms using the letters ABCDE:
Asymmetrical: A spot that has an irregular shape where the two sides don’t match.
Border: A mole that has an irregular border with notches or a scalloped edge.
Color Changes: The spot has different colors in it or the color of the spot is uneven.
Diameter: The mole grows or is larger than ¼ of an inch in diameter.
Evolving: The mole changes in shape or color.
#3: Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cells are found in the middle and outer layers of the skin. Squamous cell cancer isn’t usually fatal, but it can spread quickly if it’s not treated. Symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma include:
- A nodule that is firm and red.
- A sore with a scaly crust that is flat.
- A new sore that occurs on top of an old scar.
- A scaly patch that starts on the lip and can turn into an open sore.
- A sore or rough spot inside the mouth.
Home health care can help your aging relative to prevent skin cancer by reminding them to use sunscreen when they go outside. If the senior has difficulty applying sunscreen, a home health care provider can assist them. Home health care providers can also watch for symptoms of skin cancer, ensuring that the older adult gets treatment as soon as possible.