Most people know to keep an eye on moles and other skin blemishes. Sudden growth, an unexpected change in color or a shift in shape could indicate that a growth on or under the skin has become cancerous. But what constitutes a significant change in appearance? When does scheduling a doctor’s appointment make sense?
Following the guidelines presented here can help detect cancer warning signs and take appropriate action before a cause for concern develops into a legitimate need for aggressive treatment.
Several online photo galleries highlight the differences between benign moles and tumors. These three can be particularly useful for patients:
Melanoma is the deadly form of skin cancer, but the less-serious basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas should not be ignored. Only a trained medical professional can tell the difference and provide the appropriate treatment.
Moles can develop anywhere on the body. Doing a thorough mole check requires using a mirror to see the back, bottom and all around the feet and legs. Be sure to check the scalp and hair line, as well. Last, listen to friends and family when they express concern about a mole.
An annual physical is a great time to ask a doctor or nurse about moles and other blemishes. When seeing a dermatologist for another reason, definitely take advantage of the specialist’s expertise to get an opinion on any skin growth that looks odd or dangerous.
Skin cancers, especially melanoma, can spread quickly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 65,600 people were diagnosed as having melanoma during 2011, and 9,128 U.S. residents died from the disease that year. Excessive sun exposure and repeated sunburns raise individuals’ risk for skin cancer.
Catching and treating melanoma and other skin cancers early saves lives. Recent developments in chemotherapy, laser surgery and cryosurgery (i.e., freezing and removing diseased tissue) make treatments more effective than ever.
If you want to find out more about skin cancer, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Gangaram Ragi at Advanced Laser and Skin Cancer Center. Our office is located in Teaneck, New Jersey, and we can be reached at 201.836.9696.