Recently, former Miss Universe Dayanara Torres revealed that she had received some unexpected and frightening news: the mole she had been ignoring was melanoma skin cancer.
In an interview discussing her diagnosis, Torres stated that the cancerous growth was a “big spot” that she had simply never paid attention to. It was new in the fact that this growth was not present at birth. But it had been on her skin for years and displayed an uneven surface, according to the beauty queen. She also admits that her diagnosis was not obtained until her fiancé scheduled a doctor’s appointment for her after months of asking her to have the mole checked.
At the time of her interview, Torres had undergone a biopsy and surgery to remove a large portion of the growth and two lymph nodes to which cancer had spread. The very concept that cancerous cells from a mole could spread to lymph nodes and organs in the body was news to Torres. Reading this, we thought “if she didn’t know, there must be many more people who also aren’t aware of the enormous risks skin cancer presents.”
Melanoma skin cancer can show up in several ways. It may develop in an existing mole or freckle and change its shape and texture. It may develop as an entirely new growth or grow slowly as a thick patch of skin that looks like a scale. Finally, melanoma can also develop under a toenail or fingernail, on the sole of the foot, between the fingers or toes, or even in the genital region, so these areas must also be examined regularly.
The ABCs of skin cancer are easy to find online whenever you need a reminder. These demonstrate the characteristics of potentially cancerous growth and include signs of all types of skin cancer, including squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma and melanoma:
• Borer irregularity
• Color variations through one growth
• Diameter that is larger than a pencil eraser
• Evolution in the size, color, or texture of a mole
In addition to the look and feel of a mole or growth, a potentially-cancerous lesion may itch, bleed, or feel pain in some way.
To schedule your screening in our Teaneck, NJ office, call 201.836.9696.