Recognition of skin cancer symptoms can lead to early treatment in our office near Poolesville
Skin cancer is a common condition we hear about quite often. The effects of skin cancer can be devastating, and there is no single way to guarantee prevention. Dermatologists offer a well-rounded approach to skin cancer that includes proactive steps.
Though it is important to learn how to recognize potential skin cancer symptoms, the first step we encourage our patients from Rockville, Poolesville, Frederick, and other areas to take is to protect their skin from harmful UV rays. This means avoiding direct exposure to sunlight during peak hours, when rays are most powerful. Tanning beds are incredibly dangerous as far as skin cancer is concerned, and should not be used.
In addition to practicing sun safety, annual professional skin cancer screenings aid in early detection. These comprehensive examinations are performed in your dermatologist’s office. At Washington Dermatology Center, we use advanced diagnostic equipment for the earliest possible detection of skin cancer. Finally, every person should become very familiar with his or her own skin by performing monthly self-examinations.
How the self-exam is performed
Examining your own skin may take some time at first. This is because you want to take ample time to become familiar with your skin. Skin cancer screenings at home mimic those performed by your dermatologist; you should look between toes, at the back of your ears, and in the folds of knees, elbows, and other areas. As much as possible, even the head should be checked.
Using “body mapping” may help facilitate an efficient process:
- Check the entire face and neck, including the ears and the lips.
- Using a mirror or the help of a loved one, check the scalp, hair can be parted using a blow dryer.
- Check the hands, beginning with the fingers and working to the wrists, and then the forearms.
- Standing in front of a mirror, examine arms from the elbows all the way to the shoulders, including the underarms.
- Examine the front of the body, from your chest to your toes, and check the bottoms of your feet and your heels.
- With your back to a large mirror, check your reflection in another mirror to see the back of your neck, your back, and down the backs of your legs.
- It is also important to check the genital area.
Symptoms to watch for include:
- New moles or lesions
- Rapid growth of a mole or lesion
- Changes to the size, color, or shape of a mole or lesion
- A lesion that bleeds, hurts, or itches
- A sore that will not heal, or heals and then recurs
- Multiple colors within a mole or lesion
- Irregular borders or shape in a mole or lesion, they should be symmetrical, or evenly balanced if you were to draw a line through the center
When it comes to skin cancer, a proactive approach is best. Anything less means you are taking chances with your skin and your health.
Contact Washington Dermatology Center for your annual skin cancer screening today.Back to Skin Cancer Page