Age Spots and Cancer

Do Dark Age Spots Have Any Health Related Concerns?

What Are The Signs Of Skin Cancer?

Dark spots are frequently called age spots or liver spots but have nothing to do with the liver. They are most often the result of prior sun damage that shows up as you age. As a general rule of thumb, you should see your dermatologist when new age spots appear on your skin. Full body examinations by a dermatologist is recommended for people over the age of 50.

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Types of Brown Spots

There are three different types of brown spots that include lentigines, seborrheic keratoses and cherry hemangiomas. Lentigines are flat, medium to dark spots that resemble freckles. The size ranges from a pencil eraser to dime size. These are the most common type of brown spot and appear in areas that were previously exposed to the sun.

Seborrheic keratoses can be flat or raised and appear light, dark or black. They often resemble warts but are due to overexposure from the sun. They may also be genetic in nature. However, these growths are often benign and linked to skin tags. Cherry hemangiomas are small red dots that are smaller than a pencil eraser. They are commonly caused by an overgrowth of blood vessels. Cherry hemangiomas are not linked to cancer and are very common.

Symptoms of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer in its early stages may resemble any of the three types of brown spots. Melanoma is the most serious form of cancer. A dermatologist should examine brown spots that change their size or color. Look for spots that are larger than a pencil eraser with one side being larger. Generally, the darker the spot, the more you should see your dermatologist.

Visit your dermatologist if you notice sudden changes in your brown spots. Look for irregular borders on lesions that have different colors. Most brown spots are the result of aging. You can see your dermatologist to have them lightened or removed. Prevent new sunspots by wearing sunscreen each time you go outdoors.

Prevention Tips

There are ways to reduce your chance of cancer by removing the risk factors that cause these tumors to develop. Overexposure to the sun without wearing sunscreen is the most important thing you can do to lower your chances of developing cancer. Your body needs the vitamin D that comes from direct sunlight. Protect exposed areas of the skin when you must be outdoors. Vitamin D can also be obtained from dark, leafy vegetables or supplements. Prevention methods are the best way to reduce your cancer risks.

Common Cancer Sites

Skin cancers are most often found in areas where the skin was repeatedly exposed to the sun. This includes the face, back of the neck, bald area of the scalp and ears. Tumors may still appear on the back, chest or legs but are less common. A dermatologist will need to take a biopsy of the affected area. A pathologist is needed to render a diagnoses based on examination. It is important to pay attention to your skin and visit your dermatologist when needed.

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