Early Diagnosis for Melanoma is Possible. Get Skin-Savvy!
Melanoma is the type of skin cancer that poses the greatest concern for all of us. As experienced dermatologists, it is our hope that we can provide our patients with the information they need to understand their skin cancer risk, and to achieve the earliest possible detection of any this disease.
While melanoma is concerning, there is a bit of good news. This type of skin cancer can typically be found with the naked eye before expansion inward to healthy tissue occurs. Tumor growth occurs rather slowly, allowing time for detection, diagnosis, and treatment using conservative means. The thing is, you have to know your skin. You have to know what to look for, and you have to know when to see your Teaneck dermatologist.
One of the first and best things you can do to become skin-savvy; know your skin. We can help you by walking you through your first skin cancer screening. During this initial screening, we can point out growths and moles to keep an eye on. The examination process does not take long, but it covers the entire body, even the scalp and in between the toes.
Self-exams for skin cancer should take place at home every month. It may help to have a loved one assist with areas such as the scalp and back, though you can also use a mirror for hard-to-see places.
Most of the spots and moles that we have on our body are normal. It isn’t enough to make a mental or physical note of the growths on your body; you also need to notate abnormalities or changes. Many people are familiar with the ABC’s of skin cancer. These include characteristics that indicate abnormal cell growth:
- A – Asymmetry, or imbalance from one side of a mole to the other. If you were to imagine a line through the center of growth, would each side be identical? They should be.
- B – Border. Notches or scallops around the edges of a growth indicate an abnormality.
- C – Color. Variance in the shade is what we look for. A normal mole may be black or brown but will have only one shade. Melanomas have numerous shades and may turn red, blue, or white in some areas as skin cancer progresses.
- D – Diameter. The width of growth from one side to the other is its diameter. If a pencil eraser could fit inside of growth’s diameter, there may be an indication for skin cancer.
- E – Evolution. Any change not mentioned in A, B, C, or D should also be noted. These include elevation of growth from flat to rounded, and oozing or scaling on the surface of growth.
We want you to know that you are not alone in caring for your skin. We offer skin cancer screenings, diagnostic testing, and effective skin cancer treatments, including Mohs Micrographic Surgery. Call (201) 836-9696.