Over the past several years, skin cancer has become a more common diagnosis and prevalent concern amongst patients looking at paths to prevention. As knowledge surrounding potential causes of skin cancer continues to advance, men and women are understandably becoming more concerned about the likelihood for the development of skin cancer over time.
Questions surrounding moles, skin growths and other skin abnormalities are becoming more of a standard but still tend to be more highly concentrated within those groups of individuals who are at a heightened risk for developing skin cancer. Those with fair skin or a history skin cancer in the family are more likely to be diagnosed with skin cancer over the course of a lifetime, but it’s important to note that a diagnosis is not exclusive to these groups.
Understanding how moles and precancerous growths are linked to skin cancer is the first line of defense when it comes to successful treatment options. While a precancerous condition refers to skin that is associated with an increased risk of cancer, knowing how to identify signs and symptoms of potential problems is essential overall.
While moles are common precancerous growths that are primarily benign, any changes noted in a mole could be a cause for concern when it comes to skin cancer. The majority of moles appear on individuals during childhood and continue to increase in appearance over the course of a lifetime. The risk associated with any precancerous mole is the potential for it to transition into melanoma. It’s important that a medical professional examine any mole that is asymmetrical, has irregular borders, changes color, diameter or elevation over time.
Areas of the skin that are frequently exposed to sunlight or UV rays tend to develop actinic keratosis. These are pre-cancerous lesions that frequently form on the head, ears, arms, hands, and lips. While they may present as red or brown patches, other actinic keratosis lesions may be dry, scaly or rough. While many actinic keratosis lesions are harmless, there is always a potential for one to develop into squamous cell carcinoma.
Actinic Keratosis on the face, chest, forehead and cheek
Basal cell carcinoma is a common form of skin cancer diagnosed after a patient or medical professional notice the development of a pearl or flesh-colored bump on the skin. Basal cell carcinoma can also present in hues of pink or red and may initially look like a freckle or pimple. Similarly, squamous cell carcinoma is a secondary form of skin cancer that often appears on areas of the skin frequently exposed to sunlight and UV rays. Squamous cell carcinoma is often noticed as a red nodule or a flat sore with a scaly surface. Squamous cell carcinoma can develop in both the middle and outer layers of the skin.
Skin cancer may be becoming more common amongst patients, but so are the success rates associated with treatment options. If skin cancer is diagnosed early on, professionals agree the successful treatment is extremely likely. While everyone should be performing monthly self-checks over the entire surface of their skin, those individuals that are part of a high-risk group are often encouraged to do this even more frequently. Self-exams are a great strategy when it comes to monitoring existing moles and lesions as well as noticing any changes that could be concerning.
Basal Cell Skin Cancer
In the event a self-check sheds light on a mole or lesion that’s of concern, it’s highly recommended that patients follow up with a trained professional for further evaluation. Dr. Wright and his team at the St. Louis Laser Lipo and Vein Center have the expertise required to recognize the signs and symptoms of skin cancer as well as an extensive portfolio of treatment options in the event of a diagnosis.
When you’re concerned about a mole or are looking to establish an annual check-up to keep track of existing moles and skin conditions, our team can help take care of you as well. We’re happy to offer our patients a variety of services that range from cancer screenings and evaluations to mole removal and skin cancer treatment.
Taking care of your skin and preventing or treating skin cancer requires a proactive approach. The team at the St. Louis Laser Lipo and Vein Center is committed to comprehensive patient care and is here to answer any and all questions you might have surrounding skin cancer. Contact our team today to set up an initial consultation with Dr. Wright. Once you’ve had the time to meet with Dr. Wright, go over medical history and ask questions and voice concerns, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a personalized plan of treatment or care that helps you feel comfortable and confident each and every step of the way.