Clear Lake Dermatologists Serve Patients Requiring a Skin Cancer Screening in Webster, League City, Friendswood and Houston, TX
Clear Lake Dermatology offers skin cancer screening and mole mapping to clients in Houston, League City, and the surrounding Bay Area . Skin cancer screenings and mole mapping enable early detection of sun damage and skin cancers to prevent the development of more dangerous conditions, and to promote a more favorable outcome for health and aesthetics.
How to Self Skin Check
Performing self skin checks regularly, such as once a month, allow you to more easily identify abnormal spots that require professional evaluation. Follow these steps to check your own skin:
1. After your shower or bath, stand in a brightly-lit room. Use both a hand-held mirror and a full-length mirror.
2. Learn the usual location, look and feel of permanent marks such as birthmarks and moles.
3. As you look over your body, look for anything new, including:
- A new, different-looking mole
- A new patch of red or dark skin that may be flaky or a little raised
- A new flesh-colored bump that feels firm
- Any change in the shape, size, feel or color of a mole
- A sore that won’t heal
4. Check your body from head to toe:
- Start with the face, ears, neck and scalp. Move your hair aside to see better. If needed, ask someone to look over your scalp.
- Examine your front and back in the mirror. Lift your arms and look over your sides.
- Bend your elbows and check your upper arms, forearms, palms and fingernails (including underneath).
- Look carefully at your legs: the front, back and sides. Check the genital area and between the buttocks.
- Sit down to examine your feet, soles, toenails and the spaces between your toes.
In a notebook, record the date and any notes about how your skin looks and feels.
How to Partner Skin Check
In many cases, couples who check each other’s skin tend to perform the skin check more regularly and frequently throughout the year. To check your partner’s skin, follow the same procedure as for a self skin check. If either partner is uncomfortable with undressing completely, then he/she may wear loose clothing that can easily be moved aside. Bright light is a must for seeing the skin clearly.
When to Visit a Physician for a Skin Cancer Screening
As a general rule, if you see anything suspicious, see a dermatologist right away. You should also schedule an appointment if you notice any of the following:
- New moles
- Changes in existing moles, such as shape, size or color
- A mole that itches or bleeds
- A mole that becomes crusty or scaly
If you have over 50 moles or are at high risk of developing malignant melanoma, a type of skin cancer, then you may need mole mapping. This surveillance technique looks for new moles and changes in existing moles to diagnose melanoma in the earliest possible stage, when it is more easily treated. Mole mapping is usually performed by a health care professional and involves:
- Taking a medical history
- A skin examination, possibly with taking photographs for later review or comparison
- Evaluation of the pictures by a skin cancer expert
- A report with any diagnoses and treatment recommendations
You may also be provided with copies of the images to use in self skin checks.
The warm sun feels soothing, but long-term exposure to the sun’s rays can cause the development of freckles, discolored skin, premature aging and even skin cancer. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays may tan the skin nicely, but it comes at a heavy price: UV light damages the skin’s fibers, causing the skin to lose elasticity and to heal less efficiently. Over time, prolonged UV exposure can wreak havoc with skin cells’ ability to regulate their growth and repair, leading to wild, uncontrolled cell growth: cancer.
- Apply a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher and broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) protection whenever you’re outdoors, even in winter.
- Stay in the shade, especially during peak UV radiation hours (10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.).
- Wear loose-fitting long-sleeve shirts and long pants made of fabrics through which you cannot see.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses with large, wraparound frames.
- Avoid tanning intentionally, whether with the sun or a tanning bed; tanned skin actually indicates early sun damage.