Skin Cancer: What Made You Get Checked Out for Skin Cancer?
Conducting regular self examinations for signs of skin cancer is critically important. But what should you be looking for as you’re doing these self exams, and what are some signs and symptoms that should be red flags? Let’s explore more about what to watch for.
How to Check for Skin Cancer
First, everyone should get an annual skin cancer screening at their dermatologist’s office. For those who are higher risk – people with fair skin, red or blonde hair, and blue or green eyes – as well as those with a personal or family history of skin cancer, more frequent skin cancer screenings might be recommended by a dermatologist.
In addition, performing regular self examinations should be part of everyone’s skin care routine. To do this, examine your hands, arms, feet, legs, and trunk when you’re in the shower. After you’re out of the shower, stand in front of a full-length mirror to better see any areas you may have missed. An additional handheld mirror can help you see the back of your neck and shoulders. If possible, have someone else check your back, ears, scalp, buttocks, and the backs of your legs.
Skin Cancer Symptoms to Look For
Sadly, the signs of skin cancer vary greatly and can’t always be easily discerned. Skin cancer often manifests in the form of a mole, so that’s the first thing to look for. Be aware of any changes to existing moles, especially alterations in size, shape, color, or border. Additionally, look for any new moles that may have cropped up since your last self exam. These could be non-cancerous, but they could also indicate the presence of melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer, which can rapidly spread to other organs and bodily systems. Melanoma might also look like red, pink, white, blue, or black spots, as well as a large brown spot with dark speckles.
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) doesn’t show up as frequently as a mole, but rather a waxy or pearly bump on the skin. It may also manifest as a flesh-colored or brown lesion that looks like a scar. These lesions are normally flat, which might make them difficult to spot or think twice about. Yet another sign of basal cell carcinoma to keep an eye out for is a bleeding sore that may scab over, heal, and later return.
If you see any of these changes, make an appointment to see your dermatologist as soon as possible. Having these spots doesn’t necessarily indicate the presence of skin cancer, but if they are indeed cancerous, early detection is crucial for successful treatment.
Contact Vanguard Dermatology
In addition to wearing sunscreen and minimizing your exposure to direct sunlight, getting an annual skin cancer screening is a must. If you’re located in the greater New York City area and looking for a knowledgeable dermatologist, contact Vanguard Dermatology today for an appointment with one of our board-certified specialists. We conduct skin cancer screenings and can help you detect and treat anything suspicious.