Skin cancer does not discriminate by age, gender or ethnicity. It is important to know the signs of skin cancer and how to perform a skin check at home to spot potential problems early. While skin cancer can occur anywhere on the body, approximately 85% of cases are located on the head and neck – the most sun exposed areas of your body. In Phoenix, dermatologist Dr. Holy recommends that his patients use the ABCDE rule when examining their own skin.
Melanoma lesions are often irregular, not symmetrical, in shape. A non-cancerous mole is typically symmetrical in shape. If you were to draw a line through the middle of a mole, the two halves should roughly match.
Typically, a non-cancerous mole will have smooth, even borders. Melanoma spots usually have irregular boarders that are difficult to define.
A non-cancerous mole is commonly a single shade of brown or tan. If there is a presence of more than one color, or an uneven distribution of color this can be a warning sign of melanoma. Melanoma can occur in a variety of colors including brown, black, red, blue or purple. These spots can be flat or raised and can bleed easily. Non-melanoma skin cancer, also known as basal and squamous cell carcinoma, typically appear as small, pearly, or pale bumps or as dark red patches that can be raised, flat or scaly in texture.
Non-cancerous moles are typically smaller than malignant ones. If the diameter is greater than a pencil eraser, it may be a sign that it is growing or changing. Larger moles that have been stable for an extended period of time are not typically cause for concern; though continued observation is recommended.
The evolution of a mole is the most crucial factor to consider when performing a self-skin check. This is why regular self-checks at home are so important. If you know what is normal, you will easily be able to tell if it has grown, or evolved overtime.
Remember, early detection of skin cancer can save lives. Along with skin checks at home, a simple in-office skin screening with dermatologist Dr. Holy can truly mean the difference between life and death. Contact THE CENTER for Advanced Dermatology today at phone or website to schedule your skin screening in Phoenix.