During the course of a Facial or Massage treatment, I have some clients ask me if a mark on their skin could be Skin Cancer. My simple answer is always “When in doubt, see your Dermatologist!” A visit with a Dermatologist is something we should all be doing once a year anyway, especially if you have fair skin or have had a severe burn at any time in your life. Prepare for your visit by noting any moles, bumps, tags or any marks on the skin that you would like to make sure get diagnosed by your doctor. If you choose to have elective removal of something from your skin for vanity reasons or to prevent it from becoming cancerous, your Dermatologist can usually burn it off with nitrogen with little to no scar. However, if something looks suspect, you should have it cut or scraped off to be biopsied. More often than not it will turn out to be nothing but there is no harm in being safe and finding out. Pre- Cancers and Cancers caught in the beginning stages are much easier to treat and have higher survival rates.
When monitoring existing moles and growths on the skin, a good rule of thumb is to follow the ABC’s of Skin Cancer. A is for Asymmetry – If one side is not equal to the other this is a very suspicious sign. B is for Border – If a mole’s border is irregular, it is more likely to be Cancerous or Pre-Cancerous. C is for Color – A variation in the color of the mole is cause for concern. D is for Diameter – Any mole or growth that is greater in size than a pencil eraser should be considered suspicious. E is for Elevation – Be suspicious when a mole or growth is elevated or raised from the skin. E also stands for Evolution – Keep a close eye on all moles and growths because they can change or evolve over time and these changes can be cause for concern. Play it safe and have anything that is questionable examined by your M.D.
For more information on Skin Cancer, check out the Skin Cancer Foundation website at http://www.skincancer.org
To find a Dermatologist in your area, log onto the American Academy of Dermatology website http://www.aad.org/findaderm
Your best defense is to perform self checks on a regular basis and to be aware of changes in your skin.
Keep your skin healthy and beautiful – Kristin Malone