No matter where it develops, cancer can be a scary condition if you do not treat it early. Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer and can easily develop if you are not careful. Too much sun exposure is only one of many ways that skin cancer can develop. In order to spot skin cancer early, we recommend receiving a skin cancer screening at least once a year to identify any potential issues. Understanding any preexisting conditions or factors that can lead to skin cancer is also recommended.
Skin cancer can develop for anyone, but certain risk factors can make it more likely if you are not careful. First, individuals with a family history of melanoma or skin cancer should be diligent. Research has shown that family history can be a risk factor for the development of skin cancer. Second, skin tone is a risk factor for those with lighter or fair skin tones. These individuals can sun burn more easily, potentially causing skin cancer. Other risk factors that individuals need to consider are frequent use of tanning beds, exposure to arsenic or tar, scar tissue left over from burns or disease, and frequent x-ray exposure.
If you have any of these risk factors, it is especially important to receive a skin cancer screening at least once a year. Identifying potential skin cancer growth early can be lifesaving.
The easiest way for you to spot any potential skin cancer is by receiving an ABCD screening from your dermatologist. We provide this screening for our patients to help identify possible skin cancer early and remove it with effective treatment options. Skin cancer is best identified through any specific changes or discolorations you notice on your skin such as moles and skin spots. The way these changes are identified can help us find any skin cancer growth. The term ABCD Screening is given based on how we identify any changes on your skin and what we are looking for.
A for Asymmetry – Having moles and skin spots is perfectly normal; an individual’s skin tissue can look completely different from another’s. Typically, skin spots and moles are symmetrical and have a mirror image across the median. Any spots or moles observed to be asymmetrical can be early signs of skin cancer.
B for Border – Our moles and skin spots will have clearly developed border that is easy to identify during our screenings and at home. They should be clear and not appear irritated. Borders that are observed to be scalloped or irregular can be an early sign for skin cancer.
C for Color – Depending on your skin tone, your skin spots can have a variety of colors. Our ABCD screening will let you know which color indicates healthy and natural-looking skin tissue. Some colors can be a sign of skin cancer. While individuals can do this at home, it is important to having a clear and thorough understanding of skin tone colors and their indication of skin cancer.
D for Diameter – The size of your skin spots can be an early indicator for skin cancer. Typically, these spots are small and are under six millimeters for their diameter. Skin spots larger than this can be an indicator for skin cancer. It might be difficult to measure skin spots on your own at home, but our trained physicians can do this with ease during a skin cancer screening.
As you can see, it may be easy to identify these risk factors on your own. We encourage all patients to do frequent checks on themselves throughout the year, especially those with preexisting risk factors. However, the untrained eye can only see so much; that is why we encourage an annual skin cancer screening with our professional staff. We can identify any potential changes on your skin and keep track over the years. Understanding these changes is important for catching skin cancer early.
After you have identified potential skin cancer with a personal check or our annual ABCD screening, it will be important to seek out treatment early. We offer a variety of skin cancer treatments that can remove the cancerous growth. Most treatments are minimally invasive, so you do not have a significant recovery length.
Call today for your free consultation to see if our annual screenings and skin cancer treatments are right for you. Each screening is handled on a case by case basis, so you get the personalized assistance you need.