Warning Signs of Skin Cancer
One out of every five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. The good news? It’s easily treatable with early detection. Spotting the warning signs and following up with your physician can help save your life or the life of a loved one.
How Often Should You Check for Skin Cancer?
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, you should perform monthly “head to toe” checks. While skin cancer most commonly occurs on the face, scalp, chest, neck, arms, hands and legs, it can occur anywhere.
If you find any new symptoms of skin cancer or anything suspicious during your monthly checks, report it to your doctor immediately. While it may be nothing of concern, it’s important to have it checked out.
What Should You Be Looking For?
Skin is constantly changing. Many of these changes are normal, and sometimes they can be temporary or indicate a new health issue such as allergy, fungus or infection.
Other changes in skin can indicate something more serious: cancerous or precancerous conditions. Here are some things to look for when checking moles and other skin abnormalities:
- Are they asymmetrical? A mole should be round. If a line is drawn down the middle, both sides should match. If this is not the case, it should be checked out by a dermatologist.
- The borders of any moles should be smooth. If they have ragged, uneven edges, have them checked out.
- Color is another thing to watch. If a mole has changed color or contains more than one color, it needs to be addressed.
- Moles are generally smaller than the head of an eraser. Larger moles or other skin abnormalities that are changing in size warrant a closer look.
- In general, any moles that are changing (whether in size, color, shape or texture) should be evaluated by a physician.
- Moles, skin discoloration and lesions which are bleeding and not healing also necessitate a visit to your doctor.
Don’t Ignore the Signs
The expression, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure,” holds particularly true when it comes to stopping skin cancer through preventative care. While many skin abnormalities are harmless, hundreds of thousands of new skin cancer cases are diagnosed every year. The best survival rates are achieved through early detection and treatments, including freezing, excision, laser therapy, Mohs surgery and chemotherapy.
And remember: it’s never too late to start taking better care of your skin. Wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen every day regardless of weather.
For More Information About the Warning Signs of Skin Cancer, Contact Dr. Ragi in Teaneck.
Individuals unsure if a mole may be skin cancer should not hesitate to contact Dr. Gangaram Ragi today at Advanced Laser and Skin Cancer Center. Our office is located in Teaneck, New Jersey, and we can be reached at 201.836.9696.
Category: Skin Cancer