Skin Cancer Awareness Month: What 3 Things Should You Be Checking for When You’re Looking for Skin Cancer?

North Pacific Dermatology checking a mole for skin cancer Skin Cancer Awareness Month: What 3 Things Should You Be Checking for When You’re Looking for Skin Cancer?

3 Signs of Skin Cancer to Look For

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in the United States. But not everyone knows what skin cancer looks like. Here's what you should be looking for when examining your skin.

Something New

The first and most important sign of skin cancer you should be looking for on your body is anything new. Say you've had one mole on your shoulder your whole life. Suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, you notice a second mole on your shoulder. This is something new and should be an indicator to you that something abnormal is happening. The new feature of your skin might not be a mole, either. In some cases, skin cancer can look like a pearly, white bump on your skin or a scar. In others, you may notice a red, scaly patch that oozes fluid or pus. Regardless of what any new feature on your skin looks like, it's critical that you take note of it. While you might not have to see a doctor for a skin cancer screening at the moment, you notice this new feature on your skin, it's important that you keep a close eye on it. If it's still around after a few weeks or starts to change, that's when you should book an appointment with your doctor for a skin cancer screening.

Unusual Moles

When you go in for any kind of skin cancer screening, your doctor will be looking for several features in the moles on your body. You should do the same in your home examinations. To do this, all you need to do is follow the ABCDE method. Let's review.

Asymmetrical - Any moles that have a strange shape or are in any way asymmetrical should be examined more closely.

Border - A blurred or jagged border could be a sign of abnormal cell growth.

Color - Any mole that isn't a consistent color or is a strange color like red, blue, or white, needs to be looked at more closely.

Diameter - A mole that is several times larger than any other mole on your body could indicate cancerous cell growth.

Evolving - Moles that change in size, shape, color or texture over time need a close eye. They could be indicative of cancerous tissue.

If you notice any of these changes in your existing moles, make sure you schedule an appointment for a more formal skin cancer screening.

Changes in Existing Skin Features

Maybe you have a birthmark or a small cyst on your skin. Sometimes these things pop up and all you can do is monitor them closely. The important thing to note is whether any of them change. If you notice that a birthmark is changing in size, shape, or color, it's probably time to get it checked out. In addition, any kind of growth that's continuously getting bigger on your body is cause for concern. Don't wait to schedule your skin cancer screening.

Skin cancer can become a serious health issue if it's not caught early enough. Knowing the early signs of skin cancer could save your life. If you have questions about abnormalities on your skin and want an accurate diagnosis, contact our team at North Pacific Dermatology to set up an appointment today.

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