Skin cancer is common and can be life-threatening, but it has a high cure rate if detected early. You should see a dermatologist for proper examination and treatment if you notice any signs of skin cancer or are at a higher risk for skin cancer.
What is Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, the most common types being basal cell cancer and squamous cell cancer. Melanoma, while less common, is the most dangerous. Skin cancer often appears as irregular moles or lesions on the body, usually forming on the scalp, face, neck, hands, and arms.
What are Symptoms of Skin Cancer
Not all moles are cancerous, however, some can be signs of melanoma. You can look for the ABCDEs of melanoma to help determine if it might be cancerous. The ABCDE’s stand for:
- Asymmetry: when half a mole does not match the other half
- Border Irregularity: a jagged or undefined border around the mole
- Color: a mole that varies in color with different shades of red, brown, tan, or black
- Diameter: a mole larger than 6mm (about the size of a pencil eraser)
- Evolution: a mole that changes over time
- Funny Feeling: like a burning or itching. When in double, go see Ricardo Mejia, MD.
Any changes to a mole, new moles, moles that appear differently than other, or moles that itch could be signs of skin cancer and should be examined by a dermatologist right away.
Skin Cancer Risk Factors
Certain factors can put you at a higher risk of skin cancer including:
- Pale skin tone
- Having a large number of moles
- A personal or family history of skin cancer
- Smoking – leading to squamous cell cancer on the lips
- Tanning – those who spend a lot of time outdoors or use tanning beds
Those who are at a higher risk for skin cancer should perform self-exams often and see a dermatologist for regular examinations.
What are Skin Cancer Treatment Options?
Moles that show signs of skin cancer can be partially or completely removed and tested. If the mole turns out to be cancerous, the area should be tested again to make sure all cancerous tissue was removed. To preserve the healthiest tissue, Mohs skin cancer surgery might be performed involving removing the mole layer by layer with constant testing along the way.
Although skin cancer can be dangerous and life-threatening, the cure rate is very high when detected early. If you experience signs of skin cancer, contact Jupiter Dermatology to receive proper treatment right away.