How to Spot Skin Cancer

How to Spot Skin Cancer | Spectrum Dermatology, Scottsdale, Phoenix

How to Spot Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is both the most common type of cancer in the US, and it can be the deadliest if not caught in time. A yearly skin exam is the best way to diagnose and treat skin cancer early, and it is a specialty at Spectrum Dermatology. The good news is that skin cancer usually develops slowly and often gives plenty of warning signs before it becomes serious. When caught early, skin cancer can be addressed by a simple biopsy. Often, the site of the skin cancer is removed in a quick in-office procedure. Spectrum Dermatology offers Mohs surgery, the latest approach to removing skin cancer in a single appointment.

It is important not only to do your own mole self-checks but also to see a dermatologist regularly. Most Americans do not see a dermatologist unless they see this professional for aesthetic issues such as acne. However, you should see a dermatologist annually just like you see a GP for a checkup. Spotting skin cancer takes practice, and only a trained eye can truly conduct a comprehensive check. Still, think of self-mole checks like those monthly self-breast exams: You know your body best, and you are the best person to tell if something’s amiss.

Back To Sunscreen Basics

Whether you never used sunscreen as a child or you have already had cancerous moles removed, it is never too late to start a sunscreen regimen. Not only does SPF applied every two hours whenever you outside prevent burns and blisters, but it also prevents cancers and wards off fine lines and wrinkles. However, sunscreen is not just for the outdoors; if you’re indoors but near a window, those harmful UV rays are still at work.

Not all skin cancer starts as a changing mole, but many do. However, it is still important to know that skin cancer can and does occur without a mole ever serving as a red flag. This is one of the many reasons it is crucial to see a dermatologist regularly. Otherwise, memorize the ABCDs of moles: asymmetry, border irregularity, color, and diameter.

What to Watch: Changing Moles

Not all moles with different colors, large diameters, or that aren’t entirely symmetrical are cancerous; in fact, in most cases, they aren’t. Sometimes they are, and if you notice a mole changing or just do not feel comfortable with one, in particular, there is no harm in getting it checked. A reputable dermatologist will listen to your concerns, and a tiny biopsy is all it takes to see if the mole is cancerous. If it is not, but you still want it removed, you will merely have a mole removal procedure that is often covered by your insurance.

Unfortunately, there are many areas of your body (such as your back) where you cannot do self-checks, and this is where a quid pro quo agreement can come into play. If you have a significant other, you can check each other’s hard to see spots. Otherwise, a friend or family member can be utilized as an aid. Staying on top of worrisome moles is your best defense against one of the fastest growing cancers in the country, and annual skin checks by a professional are critical. Make your appointment online with Spectrum Dermatology now.