What You Should Know About Skin Cancer
With skin cancer being one of the most common types of cancers, it’s incredibly important for our patients to be able to spot those early warning signs of skin cancer. While everyone should visit our dermatologists once a year for skin cancer screenings; unfortunately, this simple but potentially life-saving tool is often not utilized by many people. Since anyone can develop skin cancer, it’s vital that you start taking these annual skin cancer screenings seriously, and that you also know what to look for when it comes to changes in your own skin.
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Skin Cancer
While melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer it isn’t the only type of skin cancer to be aware of. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are also two common types of non-melanoma skin cancer. You must recognize any changes to a preexisting growth or mole, or the development of new growth. Some signs of a cancerous mole include,
- Containing several colors (a healthy mole is typically a single shade)
- Being asymmetrical
- Having a jagged or poorly defined border
- Being larger than a pencil eraser (more than 6mm in diameter)
- Bleeding, crusting, oozing, or pain
Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas may also be skin-colored or pink or may even resemble a scar. Any of these changes must be examined by one of our qualified dermatologists.
Protecting Against Skin Cancer
Skin cancer can be prevented by wearing sun protection. Did you know that most people don’t wear sunscreen, and most don’t apply it properly? You should be wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day, regardless of whether it’s sunny, raining, or even snowing. You must protect your skin every day before going outside.
Sunscreen also doesn’t last all day long, so you’ll need to reapply it every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating. Wearing protective clothing with tightly woven fibers, as well as a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses can also protect against sun damage.
It’s also important that you avoid spending a lot of time in the sun, especially during the hours of 10 am-4 pm. If you must be outside, making sure you have applied sunscreen at least 30 minutes before and that you seek shade whenever possible.