Identifying skin cancer early is crucial in treating this condition successfully. While skin cancer has a very high curability rate, it can turn serious and even deadly if left untreated. To ensure your skin’s health, you should be familiar with the earliest signs of skin cancer. Find out more about the early signs of skin cancer with Dr. Karen Maffei at Athens Dermatology in Watkinsville, GA.
Is this mole normal?
The easiest way to determine if a mole is suspicious is to use the American Cancer Society’s ABCDE rule:
- Asymmetry: A suspicious mole appears asymmetrical while a normal mole is almost always symmetrical.
- Border: A mole’s border should be smooth and round or ovular.
- Color: The color of a normal mole can vary from light pink to dark brown. However, if your mole is very dark or has two or more colors within its borders, it may be cancerous.
- Diameter: A normal mole is usually smaller in diameter than 6 millimeters, or the eraser of a pencil.
- Evolving: A normal mole stays the same and does not change. Suspicious moles can change in appearance, changing color or shape rapidly in a short period of time.
What are some other early signs of skin cancer?
Skin cancer almost always begins as a discoloration on the skin which looks like a mole. While there are certain ways to tell if a mole may be cancerous. However, some cases do not follow the usual signs and symptoms. Some early signs of cancer is a sore that doesn’t heal, the spread of pigment from the inside of a discoloration to the surrounding skin, sudden itching or tenderness around a mole, or a mole that suddenly appears to change on its surface and begins to ooze or bleed.
Regular Skin Examinations in Watkinsville, GA
If you think you could have a suspicious mole or discoloration, you should consult with your dermatologist to ensure that it is not a sign of skin cancer. Regular skin examinations allow your doctor to find and treat these suspicious moles early. For more information on skin cancer or to schedule a skin examination, please contact Dr. Maffei at Athens Dermatology in Watkinsville, GA. Call (706) 769-1550 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Maffei today!
Too much exposure to sunlight can be very harmful for your skin. Dangerous ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays damage skin, which leads to premature wrinkles, skin cancer and other skin problems. People with excessive exposure to UV radiation are at greater risk for skin cancer than those who take careful precautions to protect their skin from the sun.
Sun Exposure Linked to Cancer
Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers, including melanoma. To limit your amount of exposure to UV rays, follow these easy steps.
- Avoid mid-day sun, as the sun's rays are most intense during 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Remember that clouds do not block UV rays.
- Use extra caution near water, snow and sand.
- Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps which emit UVA and UVB rays.
- Wear hats and protective clothing when possible to minimize your body's exposure to the sun.
- Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 to all exposed skin. Re-apply every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and area around your eyes.
Everyone's skin can be affected by UV rays. People with fair skin run a higher risk of sunburns. Aside from skin tone, factors that may increase your risk for sun damage and skin cancer include:
- Previously treated for cancer
- Family history of skin cancer
- Several moles
- Typically burn before tanning
- Blond, red or light brown hair
If you detect unusual moles, spots or changes in your skin, or if your skin easily bleeds, make an appointment with Athens Dermatology Group. Changes in skin may be a sign of skin cancer. With early detection from your Watkinsville dermatologist, skin cancers have a high cure rate and response to treatment. Additionally, if you want to reduce signs of aged skin, seek the advice of your dermatologist for a variety of skin-rejuvenating treatment options.
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