Skin care check up
There are more than 3.5 million new cases of skin cancer diagnosed and 2.2 million people treated in the United States each year. This makes skin cancer the most common form of cancer in the United States. Fortunately, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer.
Regular examination of the skin for any new or unusual growths, or changes in the size, shape or color of an existing spot, is key to finding and treating skin cancers early.
While many skin cancers develop in areas exposed to the sun, they may also develop in areas that are usually hidden from the sun. Doing a skin check involves carefully examining all of the skin on your body. Start at your scalp and go all the way down to the soles of your feet and between your toes. During a skin check, don’t leave any area of skin unexamined. Some parts such as your back and neck are difficulty to see, so you may want to ask a partner or spouse to help. Women should also examine the skin under their breasts and men should check their scrotal area.
So, how to know if a spot or bump is worrying? Here are some general guidelines from the American Cancer Society about what might be suspicious:
– Shape is uneven, irregular, with no clear borders
– Color is not the same throughout
– Becomes itchy, tender, or bleeds
– Does not heal
– Larger than the size of a pencil eraser
– Does not look like your other freckles/moles
Once you get into the habit of performing skin checks, you will be more attuned to your own skin and notice any changes such as the ones mentioned above. If you have any concerns about your skin findings, be sure to get in touch with a dermatologist or your healthcare provider.