Patients should be aware of the warning signs of skin cancer, which can be represented by the “ABCDEs” of skin cancer:
- Asymmetry- Moles should be symmetrical in shape. If your mole is asymmetrical, it may be precancerous.
- Border Irregularity- If your mole’s edges are blurred, or ragged, it could be an indicator of skin cancer.
- Color- Uneven coloration in a mole can be a sign of precancerous cells. Suspicious color combinations include shades of black, brown, tan, pink, white, red, and gray.
- Diameter- If the mole has increased in size, and measures more than 6mm, it may be of concern.
- Evolving- If the mole has changed in size, shape, and color over time, it may be precancerous.
If you spot any of these warning signs during a self-evaluation, it is important to see your dermatologist or physician as soon as possible. A dermatologist will perform a full body exam to determine if your moles should be treated or not. If skin cancer is found at an early stage, it has a better chance of being treated without complications.
Preventing skin cancer is not difficult if individuals simply take precautions when exposing themselves to UV rays. However, this does not mean that you have to completely avoid the sun! Some ways to prevent future skin cancer occurrences include:
- Cover Up- When spending time in the sun, be sure to wear sun protective clothing. A hat and sunglasses are always a good choice. There are even clothing brands that create UV ray-blocking items for even more protection.
- Apply Sunscreen- Patients can actively prevent skin cancer from occurring by applying sunscreen whenever they are spending time outdoors. Remember to apply sunscreen on every area of the skin that will be exposed, and reapply every hour for full protection.
- Protect Your Skin- While most people remember to wear sunscreen in warm weather, it is also important to apply sunscreen when outside in cold weather as well. Snow can reflect sunlight, which increases exposure to UV rays.
- Know Your History- Patients should do their homework and be fully aware if there is a history of skin cancer in their family. This can help to ensure precautions are taken, and that moles are checked annually by your dermatologist.
By following these prevention methods, you can take steps to prevent skin cancer. For more information regarding skin cancer detection and prevention, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.