Did you know that skin cancer occurs in more Americans than all other kinds of cancers put together? Statistics from the Skin Cancer Foundation prove it, and that's why your dermatologists, Dr. Ruben Antenor Moreno and Dr. Frank Lee at Florida Dermatology in Melbourne, Cocoa Beach, Palm Bay, Cocoa, Suntree, and Titusville, FL, want their patients to be vigilant about this deadly condition. With routine screening, diagnosis and cure rates are high.
What you can look for
If you receive an annual skin cancer screening as the American Academy of Dermatology advises, that's great. But, did you know that in between visits to your dermatologist, you can looks for signs of skin cancer yourself in the privacy of your own home?
While skin cancers (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma, the most virulent) mostly appear on areas exposed to the sun, your dermatologist encourages his patients to inspect the entire body. If necessary, use a mirror or get a spouse to help.
- Crusty, scaly patches which do not heal
- Raised bumps which bleed
- Bumps that are waxy in texture and have visible blood vessels and/or dimples
Also, your dermatologist says to inspect any existing moles for changes. Use this mnemonic to recall how to examine your skin:
A is for assymmetry. A benign mole, bisected with a straight line down the middle, will be evenly shaped and sized in both halves.
B is for border. Cancerous moles, unlike their benign counterparts, are irregular or notched, not smooth.
C is for color. It should be the same throughout.
D stands for diameter. Picture the pink eraser at the top of a standard pencil. No benign mole will be larger than this eraser (6mm).
E means evolving. A mole you've had for a long time should look the same year after year, not growing or changing in shape, texture or color.
Your bottom line caution from your dermatologist is: if you see a concerning change, come to Florida Dermatology Associates for a check-up.
Preventing skin cancer
Remember the old sayings, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." and " A stitch in time saves nine?" Well, these adages remind us that keeping ahead of dangerous health conditions is worth the time and effort. Typically, preventive measures are simple lifestyle habits which add up to a healthier, happier you.
So, to help prevent skin cancer, remember to:
- Stay in the shade between 10 am and 2 pm when the sun's rays are at their peak.
- Cover up poolside and at the beach. Long sleeves and long pants, in light colors, reflect the sun.
- Use SPF 30 sun screen or higher on exposed areas, and re-apply it every 2 hours or whenever it sweats or washes off.
- Avoid tanning booths.
Find out more
If you are concerned about a skin rash, spot, mole or lesion, please contact Florida Dermatology Associates in Melbourne, Cocoa Beach, Palm Bay, Cocoa, Suntree, and Titusville, FL. This professional team helps scores of people annually have their healthiest, most attractive skin. Reach us at (321) 768-1600.