A cancer diagnosis, no matter what kind, is one of the most terrifying times of many peoples’ lives. Under the right circumstances, skin cancer is often caught early, giving it a higher chance of being treated. However, learning how to spot skin cancer and its treatment is crucial to early detection. Learn more about skin cancer with help from your East Greenwich, RI dermatologist.
How can I spot skin cancer?
Skin cancer begins as a mole-like spot on the skin. According to the American Cancer Society, you should use the ABCDEs to search for signs of skin cancer:
- Asymmetry: Skin cancer growths are usually asymmetrical in shape while normal moles are usually circular or ovular.
- Border: The border of a normal mole is smooth and straight, unlike skin cancer which is lumpy or irregular.
- Color: Skin cancer often has several colors within the growth instead of one, overall color like a mole. They may also appear to be black or very dark brown.
- Diameter: If you have a mole which has a diameter larger than a pencil’s eraser, or about 6 millimeters, it could be skin cancer.
- Evolving: Skin cancer growths tend to change shape and size over time. Regular moles stay the same.
Normal moles very rarely evolve into skin cancer. This means most skin cancer growths are new spots, not old ones. If you notice a new mole or one that has one or more of the ABCDEs, you should alert your doctor as soon as possible. The sooner skin cancer is caught, the better the chances for successful treatment.
How is skin cancer treated?
Treatment for skin cancer from your East Greenwich dermatologist depends on the patient, the kind of cancer they have, the size of the growth and what stage the cancer is in. The most common treatment for skin cancer is surgery to remove the growth from the skin. This is usually enough to cure the cancer for most people. More stubborn cases of skin cancer may require radiotherapy after surgery to eliminate any remaining cancerous cells.
How can I prevent skin cancer?
Preventing skin cancer is as easy as protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Be sure to wear at least SPF 30 sun block on any exposed areas of your skin while you are outside. Reapply the sun block every two hours, taking care to reapply more often if you are heavily perspiring or in the water. Try to wear wide-brimmed hats and UV blocking sunglasses to protect your face and eyes and long pants and sleeves to cover the skin on your legs and arms.
For more information on skin cancer, please contact your doctor at South County Dermatology in East Greenwich, RI. Call (401) 471-DERM (3376) to speak with an associate about scheduling your examination today.