Skin Cancer 101
With summer just around the corner, now is a good time to review ways to protect your skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet light. The incidence of skin cancer is on the rise, affecting millions of people in the United States every year. With some simple precautions, you can enjoy time outdoors and reduce your chances of developing skin cancer.
What is Skin Cancer?
The term skin cancer refers to any type of abnormal cell development on the skin. The most common types of skin cancer are:
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
Each of these types of skin cancer have distinct characteristics, including how likely they are to spread to surrounding tissues.
The Skin Exam
We recommend that you perform a thorough examination of your skin and note any dark spots or growths. You will not be able to perform a complete head-to-toe exam, so you should also schedule an appointment with Dr. Potozkin. The first time that you perform the at-home exam, you are recording a baseline. You may even want to take pictures of any freckles, moles and other anomalies. Repeat the exam monthly and note any new growths or changes to existing growths.
What should you look for when you are comparing the results of your monthly skin exams? Just remember ABCDE.
- Asymmetry: Benign moles on your skin are symmetrical, meaning that if you divide the mole down the center with an imaginary line, both sides are equal in shape and size. Malignant moles are asymmetrical, so the two sides are different.
- Border: Benign moles have even, consistent borders, and malignant moles have uneven borders.
- Color: Normal moles are one single color. Malignant growths are typically multiple colors or various shades of the same color.
- Diameter: The diameter of a mole is the distance from one side to the other going through the center of the growth. Benign moles are smaller than malignant moles. Melanomas, for example, are normally the same diameter as a pencil eraser.
- Evolving: Benign moles do not change shape, size or color. A malignant growth will change in one or more of these aspects.
Learn More About Skin Cancer. Contact Potozkin MD Skincare Center.
To learn more about skin cancer screenings and treatments, as well as acne treatments, dermal fillers, and our other services, contact Potozkin MD Skincare Center to schedule a consultation. We are located in Danville, California, and you can contact us directly at (925) 838-4900.