Spotting Skin Cancer
Know the telltales signs of skin cancer so you can protect yourself.
How often do you put on sunscreen? Do you wear protective clothing outside? Even those who make an effort to protect their skin may still fall victim to sun damage and burns. Even one blistering sunburn during your childhood can double your chances of developing melanoma. Find out what to look for when it comes to skin cancer, and when it’s time to see your Northeast Philadelphia dermatologist Dr. Deirdre Wood.
Skin Cancer Signs
One of the easiest ways to pinpoint whether a suspicious mole or spot could be skin cancer is to follow the ABCD rule:
- A (Asymmetry): Look for moles or other growths that have an irregular shape or one side that is shaped differently from the other.
- B (Border): Melanoma often produces growths with blurred or rough outer edges.
- C (Color): While healthy moles are just one color, abnormal growths may change their color or have splotches of different colors.
- D (Diameter): Moles that are larger than a pencil eraser (1/4 inch) are often suspicious, but keep in mind that melanoma can also be smaller than this size.
Here are some others signs of melanoma to look out for:
- Sores that won’t go away or heal
- Painful/tender growths
- Redness or swelling around the suspicious growth
- Texture changes to a mole, including scaling or even bleeding
If you notice any of these symptoms or signs then you need to schedule an exam with your Northeast Philadelphia dermatologist right away.
Performing a Self-Examination
You should be performing monthly head-to-toe examinations so you can easily pinpoint suspicious new growths or changes right away. Here is how to conduct a self-examination:
- Grab a hand mirror and a bright light. Perform your examination near a full-length mirror. Start by examining your face, looking around the nose, mouth and ears. Use the hand mirror, when necessary.
- Move to your scalp and use a blow dryer to push hair away from the skin as you use the mirror to check the skin.
- Examine your hands slowly, being sure to check between the fingers and under the nails. Move up to your wrists and both the back and front of your forearms.
- In front of the full-length mirror, examine your elbows and work your way up your arms, checking your underarms.
- Examine your neck, chest and stomach, checking under your breasts if you are a woman.
- Face away from the full-length mirror and use your hand mirror to examine your back and shoulders.
- Use both mirrors to scan your lower back, butt and backs of the legs.
- Sit down and use the hand mirror to check your legs, genitals and feet. Be sure to check under your feet and nails, as well.
Noticing any changes in your skin? If so, then it’s time to schedule an appointment with your Philadelphia dermatologist. The sooner we can detect skin cancer the easier it will be to treat. Call Boulevard Dermatology today!