Posted by Laurie Snyder & filed under .


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:

    changes color

    changes texture

    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

Start your screen by examining the front and back of your body, then move to the arms, underarms, and palms. Then look at the backs of your legs, between your toes, and the soles of your feet. With a mirror, look at your backside, groin, and the top of your head along with the back of your neck and scalp.

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.