Skin Cancer Detection

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One of the most effective ways to prevent and treat skin cancer is by detecting it early on. With the help of a board-certified dermatologist, you can learn what to look for and how to ensure your skin stays healthy and clear of cancerous activity.

The ABCDEs of Skin Cancer

It can seem easy enough to check your skin for cancer, but it’s important to know what to look for. You can get familiar with the ABCDEs of cancer to have a better idea of what skin cancer looks like.

A: Asymmetry

Moles are typically symmetrical, so an uneven spot on the skin can be cause for concern. This includes shape and color.

B: Border

Moles usually have a defined border between it and the rest of the skin. If the border is blurry, uneven, or poorly-defined, it can be indicative of cancerous activity.

C: Color

Most moles are a uniform color like brown or black. If a mole has colors like red, blue, or white – or is splotchy or uneven – it can be a sign of cancer.

D: Diameter

Moles that are bigger than the size of a pencil eraser can be at higher risk of cancer. However, not all large moles are necessarily cancerous. If you naturally have large moles, it’s best to have them regularly checked by your dermatologist.

E: Evolving

The most telling sign of cancer is change over time. If you notice a mole changes over time with any of the above factors, you should see your dermatologist.

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Performing a Skin Self-Check

The best way to detect skin cancer is by checking over your skin regularly to keep track of any changes or concerning spots. If you notice anything wrong or aren’t sure, make sure to meet with a dermatologist as soon as possible.

To perform a skin self-check, you should look at every area of your skin – using a mirror for areas that you can’t see. Skin cancer can still occur in areas like the genitals, armpits, between the toes, and soles of the feet, so make sure to check these areas as well. If you notice any spots that are concerning, it can be helpful to take a picture to compare next time you perform a skin check.

What to Expect From A Skin Check With Your Dermatologist

It’s best practice to undergo a skin check with your dermatologist yearly. They can assess every inch of your skin with a specialized scope to check for signs of cancer – even areas where it’s difficult for you to see. Make sure to arrive to your appointment without nail polish, makeup, or styled hair so your dermatologist can check under your fingernails and your scalp (skin cancer can also occur in these areas). If your dermatologist detects anything that might be cancerous, they’ll discuss your options for a biopsy.

Schedule an Appointment

If you’re concerned about an area on your skin or want to see a board-certified dermatologist for a professional skin check, our team can help. Schedule an appointment with our experienced team by calling our offices or filling out our online contact form.

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