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What to look for
Who Should Do It
Everyone should do it. The children, must see the adults performing self examination and can be trained since an early age so that they can do it themselves by the time they are teens. Patients with risk factors for skin cancer benefit with yearly skin exams by a doctor, ideally by a dermatologist. This, coupled with self-exams every two months is the best way to ensure early diagnosis of skin cancer.
What To Look For
There are three main types of skin cancer that are probably related to ultraviolet exposition either sun exposition or solarium: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Because each has many different appearances, it is important to know the early warning signs. Look for changes of any kind. Do not ignore a suspicious spot simply because it does not hurt. Skin cancer may be painless, but dangerous at the same time. If you notice one or more of the warning signs, see a doctor right away, preferably a dermatologist:
The Warning Signs
- A skin growth that increases in size and appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, or multicolored
- A mole, birthmark, beauty mark, or any brown spot that:
- changes color
- increases in size or thickness
- changes in texture
- is irregular in outline
- is bigger than 5 mm and / or has changed recently
- A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode, or bleed
- An open sore that does not heal within three weeks
If You Feel or See any of These...
Don’t delay! See your physician, preferably your dermatologist, if you note any change in an existing mole, freckle, or spot or if you find a new one with any of the warning signs of skin cancer.