Catching cancer in its earliest stages can literally save your life. Dermatologists are most familiar with skin cancer symptoms and can help you catch it early.
Did you know that more than 75,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with a form of melanoma in a single year?
Non-melanoma skin cancer affects millions of people each year. It’s easier to cure than other cancers but is still deadly if not treated early enough. Do you have spots on your skin that you’re wary of? Read this article to learn about ways to spot skin cancer symptoms and act on them quickly.
Spotting Skin Cancer Symptoms
There are many ways you can spot skin cancer symptoms yourself that dermatologists can teach you. Let’s take a look at some ways you can catch signs of cancers early on.
1. Self Exam
Performing a self-exam is one of the best ways to ensure you are aware of changes in your skin. The most common self-exam is followed by the ABCDE rule. This can help you check your skin for signs of melanoma.
Asymmetry (A) occurs when one side of a mole does not mimic the other half. If it isn’t symmetrical and doesn’t look the same, it may be of concern.
Border (B) is another thing to look for when self-examining. Most moles have a perfect circle edge, if yours has ragged or irregular edges, this could also be a sign.
Color (C) is something you can spot with ease. If your mole has patches of red, blue, white or black in it, this could also be a problem.
Diameter (D) comes into concern if your mole is larger than the size of a standard pencil eraser.
Evolving (E) moles that are changing size, color or shape is another sign of melanoma.
Checking your skin for these spots at least once a month will help you notice any irregular skin spots.
2. Identify Skin Spots
If you see a suspicious spot, you should have the basic knowledge to be able to identify it. Melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma are all different types of skin cancer.
Dermatologists are taught to be able to identify all types of skin cancer. If you notice anything unusual in your self-exam, call the dermatologist and schedule an appointment.
3. Dermatology Exam
Each of the cancers looks different and may have different skin cancer symptoms. If you notice a suspicious spot but it does not hurt, do not dismiss it. Any spot that changes color, thickness, or texture or appears after you’ve turned 21 is a concern.
Open sores that never seem to heal and are itchy or hurt are also something you should not dismiss. If you find any one of these types of spots in your self-exam, you should make an appointment with a physician or dermatologist immediately.
They will check your skin and test these spots to see if they contain any cancerous cells.
4. Protect Yourself From the Sun
Using sunscreen is one of the most important things you can do to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Skin cancers are associated with UV radiation that occurs when your skin is not protected from the sun.
Using sunscreen with SPF 15 and higher so your skin does not burn could help to prevent skin cancer. Finding shade when you can and avoiding tanning booths will help UV rays from penetrating the sensitive surface of your skin.
Expert Advice You Can Trust
Dermatologists can recommend and provide you with a sunscreen that is right for your skin. Consulting them on the preferred brand is the best way to go.
If you’ve located or noticed a spot on your skin that you’re unsure about, call us to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at Medical Specialists of the Palm Beaches today.