Blog-Is-It-Melanoma ?-

Is It Melanoma?

Melanoma is the deadliest of all skin cancers and kills over 9000 in the United States alone every year. Your best chance of a good outcome is catching the signs early before cancer spreads to other parts of the body. Malignant Melanoma is rare compared to different types of skin cancer but spreads when left untreated. 

What to look for when you notice a mole? 

The ABCDE rule is a simple guide to help you decide whether to consult a dermatologist. 

Asymmetry, or one half of the mole, differs from the other. 

The Border of the mole looks irregular, uneven, and undefined. 

Color variations within the mole, whether different shades of tan or brown. 

You notice changes in the Diameter of the mole. 

The mole exhibits an Evolving shape and size change.

In addition to these guidelines, if you notice a mole that looks different from the others and is bleeding or itching, this is another time to have this mole looked at by a licensed professional dermatologist. 

Different Types of Skin Cancers

Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and the most common type of cancer in general. All different skin tones can develop skin cancer, but persons with lighter skin and lighter-colored eyes are more at risk for developing skin cancer. If you have sun damage, you may notice changes in the skin years before skin cancer starts to grow. Basal cell carcinoma is a slow-growing cancer that is not life-threatening. 

Squamous Cell Skin Cancer is a common form of skin cancer that occurs in people who have had repeated sun exposure from the sun or tanning beds. It is also one of the most common types of skin cancer. This type of skin cancer appears in areas exposed to the sun, like the face, hands, and ears. Some descriptions of this type of cancer include scaly red patches, an old mole that looks different, and an area that bleeds and doesn’t heal. The area’s color could be red, pink, brown, or white. Some causes of squamous cell cancer are smoking, genetics, and chemical exposure. 

How to do a Monthly Self-Exam

The best way to remember to perform your monthly self-exam is to do it at the same time each month, which will help you develop this healthy habit. Stand in front of a mirror and examine your body front and back. Raise your arms to see all areas of your skin and look up and down your arms. Check your palms and the fingernails around your hands. Examine your feet and soles of the feet and in between your toes. Take a hand mirror and examine your scalp, the back of your neck, and around the ears. 

See Your Dermatologist

If you discuss your skin concern with your family doctor, they will probably refer you to a dermatologist. A dermatologist specializes in skin diseases and regularly deals with skin cancers. They can reassure you that your mole looks normal or recommend a skin biopsy to test the affected area.

Prevention

Wearing sunscreen every day is the best way to prevent skin cancer. I offer a free 10-minute consultation for anyone purchasing sunscreen to determine the best sunscreen for their skin type!

Have questions? I’m here to help! 

Teresa

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