May is Skin Cancer Awareness month — perfect timing as we head into a summer. Did you know skin cancer is the most common of all cancers? It’s easy to screen yourself for skin cancer, and well worth the few minutes it takes, as skin cancer is easiest to treat when caught early. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a monthly check.
Have your dermatologist do a full-body check to start you off – to reassure you that any freckles, age spots, moles, or itchy patches are normal, or to treat any that are not. Then screenings on your own should take only about 10 minutes.
Here’s What You’re Looking For
There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Each has many variations in appearance, so mainly be on the lookout for changes in your skin.
Arm yourself with pictures of suspicious moles, such as the American Academy of Dermatology’s Body Mole Map, and a mirror to help you check the places you’ll have trouble seeing yourself – your back and the top of your head, for instance. Use the mole map to keep a record of spots on your skin that are growing, bleeding, itching, or changing in any way.
Keep an eye out for:
Any spot on your skin that has gotten larger and looks pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, or multicolored
A mole, birthmark, beauty mark, or any brown spot that:
increases in size or thickness
has an irregular outline
is bigger than 6mm or 1/4″ (the size of a pencil eraser)
appears after age 21
A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode or bleed
An open sore that does not heal within three weeks
Be sure to alert your dermatologist about any changes to your moles or skin. Give us a call at 512.379.6090 to schedule your skin cancer screening or book an appointment online today.