Every day, about 9,500 people in the United States find out they have skin cancer, making it the most common type of cancer in the country. When found early, skin cancer is highly curable. But how do you know if you have skin cancer?
At Associated Skin Care Specialists, we have board-certified dermatologists who specialize in diagnosing and treating skin cancer. This includes dermatologists with advanced training in Mohs surgery, the most effective technique for treating basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
Here, we want to tell you how to spot the warning signs of skin cancer so you can get treatment right away.
The best way to spot the warning signs of skin cancer is to know what’s normal. We recommend you check your skin once a month, especially if you’re at high risk of skin cancer because of your personal medical history (too much sun or too many sunburns) or family history.
Do your self skin exam in a room with good lighting and a full-length mirror. Ask a family member or friend to help you check those hard-to-see places like your scalp and back. The first time you do a skin exam, pay close attention to every mole, growth, and blemish. Keep a log or take pictures to help you remember.
If you spot anything out of the ordinary during this first exam, schedule a professional skin cancer screening right away. Then, recheck your skin every month, looking for new growths or changes in your existing moles.
When evaluating your skin, it’s important to know what type of warning signs you’re looking for. Any abnormal skin growth, whether it’s scaly, pearly, or a different color, is a warning sign.
You can also use the ABCDE acronym when looking at your moles for signs of melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. Warning signs your growth or mole is melanoma include:
Actinic keratosis (AK) is also a warning sign of skin cancer. This growth creates a scaly, dry patch of skin that develops on areas of the body that get the most sun exposure, usually the face, neck, top of the shoulders, and back of the hands.
If you find any abnormal growths during your self skin-exam, schedule an appointment with one of our skilled dermatologists. We can evaluate the growth, along with the rest of your skin. If we see anything of concern, we remove the growth (or growths) and send it to the lab for analysis.
Depending on the results from the lab, we may have you come in for additional treatments or screenings. In most cases, removing the lesions cures the cancer.
Anyone can get skin cancer. Spotting the warning signs can save your life.
If you have an abnormal growth on your skin, we can provide the dermatology care you need at our offices in Minneapolis, Blaine, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, or Coon Rapids, Minnesota. Use our convenient online scheduling tool to make an appointment today. Or, call the office most convenient to you.
Telemedicine appointments are an option in some cases.
We also have an office in Fridley, Minnesota. Currently, we’re doing clinical trials for actinic keratosis. If you want to learn more about our clinical trials, complete the online form found here.