The number of people who are diagnosed with skin cancer or melanoma in the United States continues to grow. Once you reach the age of 70, your risk of developing skin cancer grows exponentially. By performing regular checks on your skin, you can catch early stage cancerous or precancerous growths.
Early detection boosts the success rate of skin cancer treatment. First, you have to familiarize yourself with how the moles on your skin normally look. You should have a clear idea of what a normal mole looks like and have knowledge of the usual characteristics and placement of your moles. This could ultimately save your life.
Changes in your skin could indicate skin cancer. Early warning signs include a change in the shape or size of a mole and the appearance of rashes or blemishes around the mole area.
A mole that is normal is either raised or flat but should have an even color. Moles can appear at any time from infancy to young adulthood. It usually stays the same shape and size, or it goes away eventually. Any new moles that appear in old age warrant a checkup. Another red flag is when a mole grows in size. Generally, a mole should not exceed the size of a pencil eraser. Anything out of the ordinary suggests melanoma.
The Ugly Duckling Sign
Moles may appear in clusters and usually feature the same characteristics. Another warning sign of melanoma is when one mole stands out as if it were an ugly duckling with unpleasant, out-of-the-norm characteristics. So, if you see a mole that is different in size, color, or form, it could be a sign of melanoma.
Other Skin Changes
Melanoma also presents itself in other ways usually in close proximity to your mole such as redness and swelling, itching and burning sensations, pigment spreading, pain, and oozing and crusting sores that do not heal. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s time to see a dermatologist.
Check Your Skin According to the ABCDE Rule
The ABCDE rule is a guideline for patients; it stands for asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and an evolving appearance. A normal mole is symmetrical with clearly defined borders, is uniform in color, no larger than a 6-millimeter pencil eraser, and not changing in its size.
Unless you have it checked by a professional skin doctor or dermatologist, it is hard to be 100 percent sure if your skin change is something serious or not. As with any type of cancer, it is in your best interest to consult a medical expert for a proper diagnosis.
Consult Your Skin-Care Dermatologist in South Florida
If you suspect that your recent skin change might be due to melanoma, request an appointment with a dermatologist immediately. A doctor can perform tests to determine if your skin change is indeed cancerous or precancerous and get you started on a treatment plan if necessary.
Double board certified in dermatology and family medicine, Dr. Yvette Tivoli of Atlantic Derm offers comprehensive, state-of-the-art skin care services to patients in Delray Beach, Florida. If skin cancer is a concern, schedule your full-body skin screening today. Call Atlantic Derm at (561) 802-SKIN (7546) or request an appointment with Dr. Tivoli today.