Skin Cancer Awareness Season is Here
Skin Cancer Knows No Season, but Summer does make us Think About it More
Everyone knows that the easiest way to get skin cancer is to spend too much time in the Sun. OR the tanning salon. But, because everyone is different, not every form of skin cancer will look the same on every person. We’ll discuss some of the specific things to look for in a bit, and give you a simple mnemonic to help you remember it all. It is always best however, if you have even the slightest doubt, to go and see a dermatologist if you suspect you may have a cancerous growth.
Early Detection of Skin Cancer is Key
Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, and fortunately it has a very high cure rate here in Northern Nevada. Once the cancerous growth has been identified, Dr. Jennifer Janiga can offer a broad range of solutions, from topical creams to surgical excision. That is why it is always so important to seek the advice of a qualified Board Certified Dermatologist, like Dr. Jennifer Janiga, who specializes in the detection, prevention and treatment of skin cancer.
Too much “cure” can be just as hazardous as too little.
There are signs to look for, like a pearly white or pink bump often accompanied by visible blood vessels on your face, ears or neck. The bump may bleed, develop a crust or form a depression in its center. It also may present as a flat, scaly, pink, brown or flesh-colored patch on your back or chest. Over time, these patches can continue to grow if not treated. More rarely, a white, waxy scar-like area that is easy to overlook can develop, so try to be aware of scars in places you’ve never been injured.
Skin Cancer Can Spread Fast or Move Slow, and Can Be Hard to Self Detect
Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) is a type of skin cancer which can develop on the “squamous” cells of the skin and very easily spread to other parts of the body if not treated early. In its beginning stages, it can be hard to differentiate from normal skin, or skin which has other signs of sun damage like darkened pigmentation, loss of elasticity and excessive wrinkles. If you develop a sore or scab which doesn’t seem to go away for two or more weeks, a flat patch of scaly skin or even an ulcerated sore in your mouth or on your genitals – where sun has not shined – it is best that you seek a dermatologist as soon as possible. If treated early, SCC can be surgically, completely, removed.
The A B C D E’s of Self Detection for Melanoma
This has been discussed before, but the information bears repeating. Either stand in front of a full length mirror, or have a friend or loved one look at your back, neck shoulders and anywhere else you cannot look at closely yourself.
Follow these A B C D E’s while performing a self-examination of any moles you may have:
- Asymmetry: Is one side of the mole a different color or shape than the other?
- Border: Does the mole have an irregular or poorly defined boarder?
- Color: Is the mole varying shades of tan, brown, red, black, white or blue at the same time?
- Diameter: Melanomas are most often larger than a pencil eraser, but they CAN be smaller.
- Evolving: If a mole is growing, changing in shape, boarder or color, it may very well be Melanoma.
Enjoy our Reno/Tahoe Sunshine this Summer, and Please Be Aware of Possible Signs of Skin Cancer
Janiga MDs wants you to enjoy your life to the fullest. We all live in this region because of the beautiful scenery and awesome outdoor activities it offers. So we wouldn’t dream of telling you to not enjoy every activity Northern Nevada makes available to you, but do wear your sunscreen and use sun protective clothing and shade where possible. We are here for you, to serve your needs and enhance your life, whenever the need arises.
If you suspect you may have developed a skin cancer due to sun exposure or too much time in the tanning bed, please contact skin cancer dermatology Reno doctor, Jennifer Janiga, as soon as possible.