Did you know that over one million people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year? While the chances of getting it are higher for those with a family history of the disease, anyone is vulnerable to skin cancer. Doctors and other experts in the field recommend that you see your dermatologist once a year for a routine mole check. During this appointment your doctor will scan your body for moles that may have changed since your last visit as well as any new or irregular looking moles on your body. This yearly exam in crucial for preventing skin cancer and for catching it very early on. Individuals should not wait for their yearly appointment if they are encountering itching, crusting, bleeding, or pain on any moles. Additionally, if you notice that your mole seems to be changing, contact your dermatologist immediately. Catching these at early stages can greatly reduce the chances of melanoma spreading.
There are two types of tumors–the benign (noncancerous), and malignant (cancerous).
The three types of malignant tumors are:
Basal Cell Carcinoma: A common type of skin cancer from continued sun exposure, basal cell carcinoma is rarely fatal. Over 60% of patients will see another one develop within five years. It is important for these patients to see their doctor regularly and note any changes on the skin.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Usually seen in individuals with fair skin, this type may appear as a crusty bump on damaged skin, or perhaps an ulcer/sore that won’t heal.
Malignant Melanoma: The least common yet more serious skin cancer, this will usually appear as a dark mole with uneven borders. Often times hints of blue, red or white may be present. The upper back of men and women and the lower legs of women are most common the sites of these skin cancers but they are found also on the face and arms, too. Malignant melanoma may arise from a mole that has been present for years.
When detected early, skin cancer is extremely curable. This detection can be done through regular visits and calling for a quicker appointment if one starts to change.
There are several options for treatment of skin cancer, depending on what stage and how early it is detected. Do not wait on this one. Dr. Sharon Meyer is an experienced doctor prepared to detect and treat skin cancer. For a mole screening appointment or if you have concerns about a changing mole, contact Uptown Dermatology today. It’s better to be on the safe side! We look forward to hearing from you!