How Regular Skin Cancer Screenings Detect Cancerous Spots
If you are not regularly having skin cancer screenings it is time to make that part of your yearly routine. Skin cancer screenings can confirm or deny a suspicion you have or simply just give you piece of mind. The dermatologists at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute can provide you these skin cancer screenings as often as you are interested in having them done.
What Happens During a Skin Cancer Screening?
During a skin cancer screening is a visual exam of the skin that can be done by yourself or a dermatologist. When a dermatologist examines the skin they look for moles, birthmarks or other marks unusual in color, size, shape or texture. A skin cancer screen can help find cancer in its early stages making it easier to treat. While it cannot be used to diagnose cancer, it can lead to a biopsy which is then used to diagnose cancer. Skin cancer screenings should especially be done for those with a light skin tone, blonde or red hair, light colored eyes, skin that burns easily and/or a family history of skin cancer. Once you are ready for the screening, the dermatologist will give you a head-to-toe exam that will likely use a magnifying glass to get a closer look at certain spots. It will only take 10 minutes.
Aside from professional skin cancer screenings detecting cancerous spots it is important to know how to examine your skin yourself for signs and symptoms of skin cancer. Knowing what to look for on your own body can dramatically reduce the risks associated with this condition. Believe it or not, it is more likely for an individual to detect their skin cancer before a doctor because the individuals know the signs and symptoms to look for when examining their moles.
What to Look for When Examining Atypical Moles
The first step in examining atypical moles includes already knowing the moles you currently have. Knowing where they are located and keeping an eye on ones that look misshapen could be the difference between life and death for you. While you may notice an atypical mole, a doctor will need to examine it to confirm it showing any irregular features.
Warning signs to look for when examining atypical moles include first looking for asymmetry in the mole. If you were to cut it in half would both sides match? If not, it is considered asymmetrical. Next, look for any borders that may be uneven. Then take a close look at the colors of the mole. If you see different shades of brown you are likely looking at an atypical mole. Next, look at the diameter of the mole and how thick it is. The bigger and darker the mole, the more atypical it is. Lastly, look at how your moles evolve. Have they changed size, shape or color over the last few months or years? If so, it is important to see a doctor just in case.
Patients should get screened regularly for skin cancer while also examining your own body regularly for atypical moles. Complete this form to get a cancer screening or discuss an atypical mole with a dermatologist at Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute.