It has long been understood that both men and women with fair skin types are more susceptible to UV rays and ultimately, at a greater overall risk of developing skin cancer. That being said, there are a variety of factors that can lead to skin cancer development no matter what type of skin an individual possesses. Skin cancer is presently considered to be the most prevalent form of cancer among patients. Determining factors that could potentially lead a patient to develop skin can over time include genetics or a family history of the condition, scarring from burns or previous illnesses, excessive use of tanning beds, over-exposure to x-rays, and general over-exposure to the sun.
While skin cancer can’t always be prevented, it’s often helpful to know that it is recognized as one of the most curable types of cancer that affect patients worldwide. As with nearly all types of cancer, the success rate of treatment is highly dependent on early skin cancer recognition. When it comes to skin cancer, it’s important to take time to not only schedule regular skin cancer screenings but to be able to self-identify any changes in the skin over time. High-risk patients such as those with fair skin may want to perform self-exams even more regularly to keep track of alterations with moles, spots and discoloration.
While it may sound simple at first, what is referred to as the “ABCDE’s” of skin cancer recognition is a highly effective method that can be used by patients across all skin types to evaluate spots and moles for changes over time that may be concerning. Looking for these indicators is a great way for early skin cancer recognition.
In this useful acronym, “A” stands for Asymmetry, which is something patients should be on the lookout for during a self-examination of the skin. This is where one half of a spot or mole is very much unlike the other side. “B” stands for Border. If you notice irregular, scalloped or poorly defined borders of a mole or skin spot, it’s worth having a physician take a closer look. “C” stands for color. Patients who notice a spot where color varies from one area to the next or can clearly identify sections of tan, brown and black in combination will want to have a professional examine the spot or mole. “D” stands for diameter. Any mole that presents with a diameter of 5 mm or less is unlikely to be cancerous. Those that exceed these dimensions should be examined. “E” stands for evolving. If a mole changes over time whether in size, color or texture it’s a clear sign that it should be further evaluated by a trained professional.
While the “ABCDE’s” of skin cancer recognition are a great first step to staying ahead of a skin cancer diagnosis, screenings and annual exams are just as important in fighting skin cancer. Even the most diligent individual is bound to miss certain sections of the skin due to physical limitations when it comes to self-examinations. For this reason, it’s important that those individuals who are highly susceptible to skin cancer schedule regular screenings. For the vast majority of patients, annual exams are sufficient for early detection. Having a trained physician take time to thoroughly inspect your skin for any potential abnormalities is a quick and easy way to get ahead of the curve.
When it comes to early detection, Dr. Wright and his team at the St. Louis Laser Lipo and Vein Center are dedicated to providing a comprehensive approach to patient care. We are happy to provide screening, exam, detection and treatment services that are made to fit each and every one of our patients. While screenings and annual exams can be scheduled at any time, in the event that skin cancer is diagnosed, our team has a variety of treatment options available for the long-term. Some of these options include simple excision, electrodesiccation, and photodynamic therapy. We also offer surgical approaches to skin cancer treatment including Mohs surgery, Cryosurgery, and Laser-based surgical techniques.
When it comes to skincare and the prevention or treatment of skin cancer, there’s no reason to wait. Contact our offices today to schedule a screening or exam and begin your journey to health and change alongside our caring and welcoming staff. Dr. Wright and his team are here to guide you through your many treatment options and keep you on track for a lifelong experience with healthy skin by helping each of our patients understand the importance of preventative care and early detection.