It’s important to know what warning signs to look for when it comes to skin cancer.
Early detection is key when it comes to skin cancer. Of course, this means understanding and knowing what to look for so that you can come in for an evaluation if something looks amiss. Our Oceanside, San Marcos, Fallbrook, Solana Beach, Murrieta, Menifee, and Temecula, CA, dermatologists think it’s necessary for everyone, no matter whether they have risk factors or not, to perform thorough self-exams.
You should evaluate every part of your body, from the scalp down to between your toes (No joke!). Skin cancer can develop anywhere, and most of the time it’s in a less-than-obvious place. Be sure to check all moles and growths on your body. It’s important to understand that healthy moles shouldn’t change over time. If they are starting to look different this could be an early warning sign of skin cancer.
So, what should you look for when performing your self-exams? The best approach is to follow your ABCDEs when it comes to examining and inspecting your skin for potential skin cancer (both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer). Here’s what ABCDE stands for:
As we mentioned before, moles stay the same over time. If you start to notice changes (evolving) such as itching, bleeding, or crusting then it’s time to call your dermatologist. Healthy moles are also symmetrical, which means that you could draw an invisible line down the middle of the mole and both sides would look identical in shape, size, and color. Asymmetrical moles are warning signs of a potentially malignant growth.
Healthy moles will also have a perfectly defined border. If the border of a mole is jagged or poorly defined this is something that needs to be checked out. The same goes for color. Moles should only contain one color. While a mole can range in color, if it contains multiple shades of brown, black, white, red, or even blue then it’s time to schedule a skin evaluation.
Lastly, size matters when it comes to moles. In most cases, a healthy mole will be smaller than the size of a pencil eraser. If a mole is larger it’s worth having it checked out. While melanoma does tend to be larger, some healthy moles can be larger than normal and some malignant moles can be smaller than a pencil eraser. If you are suspicious of any growth, we say, have it checked out just to play it safe.
If you are concerned about any changes to your skin it’s important that you talk to a dermatologist right away. Turn to the skin cancer experts at Dermatology Specialists serving Oceanside, San Marcos, Fallbrook, Solana Beach, Murrieta, Menifee, and Temecula, CA. No matter whether you are dealing with issues or you just need to schedule a routine screening, call us today.