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Skin Problems & Treatments

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Posted by on Wednesday, September 22, 2010, 2:45
This news item was posted in Cancer, S category and has 1 Comment so far.

Moles and Skin Cancer Screening

When it comes to your health and skin cancer, it’s a good idea to be proactive and keep an eye out for dangerous moles. Moles can be linked to skin cancer. This is especially true if you already have moles on your body, or if you have a family history of skin cancer linked to moles.

Skin Problems

Skin Problems

In addition to limiting your exposure to sunlight and using sunscreens, examining yourself for moles can reduce your chances of developing melanoma (a serious form of skin cancer) or allow for early detection and treatment.
Skin Cancer Screening Schedule

If you or a close relative have moles, you should examine your body once a month. Most moles are benign (non-cancerous). The only moles that are of medical concern are those that look different than other existing moles or those that first appear after age 20.

If you notice changes in a mole’s color or appearance, you should have a dermatologist evaluate it. You also should have moles checked if they bleed, ooze, itch, appear scaly, or become tender or painful.
What Should I Look for When Examining My Moles?

Examine your skin with a mirror. Pay close attention to areas of your skin that are often exposed to the sun, such as the hands, arms, chest, and head. If your moles do not change over time, you don’t have to be concerned.

The following ABCDEs are important signs of moles that could be skin cancer. If a mole displays any of the signs listed below, have it checked immediately by a dermatologist:

*  Asymmetry: One half of the mole does not match the other half
* Border: The border or edges of the mole are ragged, blurred, or irregular
* Color: The mole has different colors or it has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red
* Diameter: The diameter of the mole is larger than the eraser of a pencil
* Elevation: The mole appears elevated (raised from the skin)

You should always be suspicious of a new mole. If you do notice a new mole, see your dermatologist as soon as possible. He or she will examine the mole and take a skin biopsy (if appropriate). If it’s skin cancer, a biopsy can show how deeply it has penetrated the skin. Your dermatologist needs this information to decide how to treat the mole.

The most common location for melanoma in men is the back; in women, it is the lower leg. Melanoma is the most common cancer in women ages 25 to 29.
Tips to Consider for Skin Cancer Screening

Keep these tips in mind when screening your moles for skin cancer:

* Examine your skin after a bath or shower, while your skin is still wet.
* Use a full-length mirror if you have one. Start at your head and work your way down, looking at all the areas of your body (including the front, backs, and sides of each area, and your fingernails and toenails). Also be sure to check the “hidden” areas: between your fingers and toes, the groin, the soles of your feet, and the backs of your knees. Don’t forget to thoroughly check your scalp and neck for moles. Use a handheld mirror or ask a family member to help you look at these areas.
* Keep track of all the moles on your body and what they look like. Take a photo and date it to help you monitor them. This way, you’ll notice if the moles change. If they do change in any way (in color, shape, size, border, etc.), see your doctor. Also, if you have any new moles that you think look suspicious, see your doctor.
* Pay special attention to moles if you’re pregnant, going through menopause, or at other times when your hormones may be surging (including teen years).

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1 Response to “Skin Problems & Treatments”

  1. [...] the total amount of sun received over the years, and overexposure resulting in sunburn can cause skin cancer. Most people receive 80% of their lifetime exposure to the sun by 18 years of age. The message to [...]

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