If you are diagnosed with skin cancer, your chances of developing other cancers increases. That’s why preventing skin cancer through avoiding prolonged sun exposure is essential for good health.
But it’s also important to receive an annual skin examination from a board-certified dermatologist. That way, if you do contract skin cancer, it can be detected and treated as early as possible, vastly increasing your chances for a long and healthy cancer-free life.
But how can you detect it? It helps to know what you’re looking for!
Any skin marking can be related to skin cancer, whether the marking itself is cancerous or the cancer develops on or near a pre-existing marking. But anything out of the ordinary is worth scheduling an appointment with a dermatologist for.
“Out of the ordinary” includes any marking that is changing in size or color over time. Itching, oozing, flaking, crusting, or bleeding are common signs of potential skin cancer. A marking such as a mole or birthmark with an irregular shape (non-round), or that changes color, may also be a sign. Another common sign is a sore or lesion on the skin that bleeds for a while, seems to heal, and gets reopened again.
The best way to track your existing moles for signs of trouble is to attend yearly skin cancer screenings from a board-certified dermatologist. Regular self-exams are also extremely effective in detecting symptoms early.
Over 3 million people are diagnosed with Basal Cell Carcinoma, the most common skin cancer, every year. Early detection and treatment are the key to living a long and healthy life after the cancer has been treated.
If you haven’t been avoiding unnecessary sun exposure, begin doing so now. Wear SPF of 30 or greater every day and avoid indoor tanning equipment. If you absolutely, positively need a little color, get a spray tan! Those don’t cause cancer!
Skin cancer can be life-threatening, but with vigilance and the care of a qualified dermatology professional, it doesn’t have to be.