Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in adults, and according to the American Academy of Dermatology, it is estimated that one in five adults will get it in their lifetime. The good news is that most skin cancers are highly treatable if caught early, which is why regular skin checks are so important.
There are three common forms of skin cancer: Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma, and Melanoma.
Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer, which frequently develops in those with fairer skin. This cancer develops from years of unprotected sun exposure or indoor tanning.
Like BCC, another common skin cancer is Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), which develops from too much sun exposure and develops in both light and dark skin. Early diagnosis for both common skin cancers is important to help contain and get rid of them before they spread.
Melanoma, considered the most serious of all skin cancers, is dangerous because it is known to spread. Melanoma most commonly develops in a mole but sometimes can appear as a new dark spot on the skin.
What Are Skin Checks, And How Do I Perform One?
A skin check is a routine inspection of your body to spot early signs of skin cancer. When you perform a skin check, you should look closely for anything that appears out of the ordinary on your skin, such as the following.
- Any new or changing lesion
- New brown spots
- Rough, scaly skin
- Moles that start to become more noticeable
- Dark lesions
- Bleeding or itching spots
Skin cancer can look like many other things, but these are some of the most common signs. As a rule, you should schedule an appointment with your dermatologist if you see anything concerning on your skin.
Skin cancer most commonly forms in areas with higher exposure to sunlight; however, it can form anywhere on the body. To perform your skin check, the American Cancer Society recommends checking yourself in the mirror and using a hand mirror to inspect hard-to-see areas. You should also make sure to part your hair and examine your scalp for spots.
Skin Cancer Prevention
It is important to remember that skin cancer may not affect the way you feel. You can feel well and have an unusual spot that either doesn’t itch or hurt. That is why it is imperative to continue monthly skin cancer self-exams. You should also see a dermatologist annually to have an exam done by one of our experts.
Skin cancer can affect males and females of any skin color and age. If you recognize any changes in your skin, or if a particular spot morphs, forms, bleeds, or itches, please do not hesitate to give our office a call. We will schedule an appointment to see one of our providers to address any questions you may have about a spot that concerns you.