Detecting skin cancer early is one of the most effective ways to prevent and treat it. Although your board-certified dermatologist is the best expert on skin cancer and concerning spots, it’s important to know what to look for when performing your at-home skin self-check.
The ABCDEs of Skin Cancer
Although you may know to check your skin for concerns, you may not know exactly what to look for. It can be helpful to remember the ABCDEs of skin cancer whenever you perform a skin check.
Healthy moles are generally symmetrical in shape and color. If a spot is not symmetrical and has a different color or shape on one side, it can be cause for concern.
There’s usually a clear distinction between a mole and the rest of the skin. If the border of the mole is poorly defined, blurry, or uneven, it can be cancerous.
Moles typically range from black to brown in color. Moles that have unusual colors like red, blue, or white can be cancerous. Additionally, if the coloring is uneven or splotchy, it should be assessed by your dermatologist.
Large moles (bigger than a pencil eraser) are not inherently cancerous, but they can be more likely to become cancerous. If you naturally have large moles, you should make sure to have them checked regularly by your dermatologist.
Change over time is the biggest indicator of cancerous activity. If your moles look different from one month to the next with any of the above factors, you should see your dermatologist.
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“I had my first visit with Dr. Hamblin and was very impressed with him and his staff! I definitely feel confident with his treatment! I Have already recommended him to several people."
“I was impressed with the competence and professionalism of Dr. Hamblin and his staff. They diagnosed my problem and performed a surgical intervention thoroughly, being very careful to protect the medical and cosmetic results. I consider myself to be very lucky to have found Hamblin Dermatology based on the recommendation of my personal physician."
“I was able to get an appointment in a reasonable time. I was in and out in less than a half-hour and that included taking a biopsy and freezing about a dozen pre-cancer sports. They are going to send the results to my dermatologist in Sun City West."
“They are great from the front office to the back. Great team!! I'm very pleased with Doc Hamblin. Great guy and family man. Made me comfortable for some good size cancer removal. I'm very grateful to have found them!! I definitely recommend them for your dermatology needs."
Performing a Skin Self Check
It’s important to regularly look at your skin and see whether there have been any changes. If you have any suspicions about your skin or moles, or if you’re just unsure, it’s best to see your dermatologist as soon as possible.
When performing a skin self-check, it’s important to look at every area of your body. This includes areas like the armpits, soles of your feet, between your fingers and toes, and genitals. It can be helpful to use a mirror for areas that you can’t see, or enlist the help of a trusted person. If you see any areas that are concerning, it can be helpful to take a picture so you can compare next time you perform a skin check – or show your dermatologist during an appointment.
What to Expect From a Skin Check With Your Dermatologist
Most dermatologists recommend undergoing a professional skin check once per year. During this appointment, your dermatologist will look closely at your skin with a specialized scope to check for indicators of cancerous activity. Your dermatologist will check your skin all over, even areas where you can’t see.
It’s important to arrive at your appointment without makeup or nail polish, and wear your hair down and loose. Your dermatologist will check under your fingernails and your scalp where skin cancer can occur. If your dermatologist sees anything concerning, they may perform a biopsy to determine whether your spots are cancerous.
Schedule an Appointment
Skin cancer can be treated effectively with early detection. To learn more about what to look for or to meet with a board-certified dermatologist for a professional skin check, schedule an appointment at our Mesa office. You can reach us by calling or filling out our online form.
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