According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, only a small proportion of new cases (about seven percent in men and five percent for women) are melanoma. Yet this grave form of skin cancer will claim an estimated 7,230 lives in 2019. In addition, other types of skin cancer can metastasize and with fatal results. With proper treatment at the first signs of skin cancer, however, prognosis is excellent. Awareness is your best defense, and it starts with professional skin cancer screenings at Associates in Dermatology in Westlake, OH or our Lorain or Middleburg Heights offices.
What does skin cancer look like?
Skin cancer symptoms can mimic those of many other dermatologic conditions. It is crucial to get a qualified opinion if you notice a spot:
- That recently appeared
- That looks different from the moles around it
- With asymmetrical shape
- Having a jagged or scalloped border
- With unusual color – black, gray, bluish, or multiple shades
- Larger in diameter than a pencil
- That is changing in shape, size, elevation, texture, or color
- That begins to itch or feel tender
- That bleeds, seeps, or crusts over
- That looks like a small sore but does not heal
- That looks “different” compared to other spots on the skin
Importance of skin cancer screenings in Westlake, OH
Because sun exposure is a big factor, skin cancer on the face, ears, scalp, neck, shoulders, and backs of hands are most common. However, skin cancer can develop anywhere, including between toes or under nails, in the mouth, and on genitals. All ethnicities can get skin cancer, and it may advance without being noticed on darker skin tones.
A dermatologist is trained to know where to look and how to recognize potential skin cancers, for early detection that could save your life.
What to expect at a skin cancer screening
Skin cancer screening is not painful or traumatic, and it doesn’t take very long. The doctor begins at the top of your head, examining the skin with a magnifying lens. As the exam progresses, existing spots are marked within the electronic medical record. This record becomes a baseline for future screenings, helping to identify new or evolving conditions.
If the dermatologist finds a concerning lesion, a biopsy may be taken for further evaluation, or photographs may be taken to monitor concerning lesions.
During the screening, the doctor also provides instruction on how to perform monthly self-checks at home and advice on daily sun protection.
Call (440) 482-8323 to make Associates in Dermatology your partner in skin cancer prevention.