The Importance of Knowing Your Birthmarks, Moles, and Skin Imperfections
- Posted on: Sep 30 2019
While melanoma is the rarest form of skin cancer, it is also the most dangerous. Luckily, most cases of skin cancer are noticeable in the earlier stages, making it easier for a dermatologist to intervene before the issue becomes dire. One way to ensure you are healthy and free from skin cancer is to not only visit the dermatologist once a year for an annual skin cancer screening, but also to be familiar with the birthmarks, skin imperfections, growth, and moles on your skin.
It is essential that patients understand that melanoma does not only develop in the areas where sun exposure has occurred. Instead, melanoma can develop anywhere on the body, often going unnoticed in patients who do not have routine cancer screenings. This type of cancer develops in the skin cells that produce melanin, and is more prominent in patients with lighter skin tones. Unfortunately, no one is free from developing melanoma, so knowing the signs and indications that may develop is one way to stay a step ahead of skin cancer.
Know the ABCDE guidelines
The American Academy of Dermatology has developed a set of guidelines to help patients know when a specific skin growth may be signaling skin cancer. These are known as the ABCDE guidelines. They stand for:
- Asymmetrical shape
- Irregular border
- Color changes
- Diameter increase
- Evolving changes
How can I reduce my chances of skin cancer?
First and foremost is skin protection. Patients should be vigilant about wearing sunscreen each and every day. This should be a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Patients should also avoid the time of day when sun exposure is the strongest, typically between the times of 10am and 4pm. If outdoors, reapplying sunscreen every three hours can help continually protect the skin, as well as wearing long-sleeved tops and pants during long days outside.
Ready to speak to a dermatologist about skin cancer?
Call the doctors of Asarch Center for Dermatology, Laser and Mohs Surgery to schedule an appointment at one of our many convenient office locations in Holyoke, Lakewood, Castle Rock, and Englewood, Colorado. The primary number is (303) 761-7797.