Learn About Early Signs Of Skin Cancer And Screenings
There’s no doubt that the rate of skin cancer diagnosis has been increasing in recent years. While this can certainly be alarming, it fortunately also means that more early diagnoses are happening, and more patients are being successfully treated and cured. Knowing what to look for and performing self-examinations plays a major role in the early identification of skin cancer, but there is no equal substitute for regular skin cancer screenings with your dermatologist. Use this helpful information from the exceptional board-certified dermatologists at Clear Lake Dermatology to better understand what early signs of skin cancer you should keep an eye out for and when it may be right to schedule a skin cancer screening in Webster and League City, TX.
What causes skin cancer?
In this day and age, almost everyone knows about the dangers of skin cancer. However, many people are surprised to learn what factors may actually contribute to the development of skin cancer. While there are several different types of skin cancer, each with unique risk factors, some of the most common causes of skin cancer overall include:
- Long-term sun exposure
- Exposure to harmful UV rays
- Tanning beds
- Early and severe sunburns
- Repetitive x-rays
Additionally, some men and women in Webster and League City, TX are simply at higher risk for developing certain types of skin cancer in their lifetime. Patients with fair skin, as well as those with a family history of skin cancer, are typically much more likely to be diagnosed with skin cancer than other men and women. Knowing how to recognize the early signs of skin cancer and understanding how to perform a skin cancer check are critical for early detection and treatment.
What are the signs of skin cancer?
There are many different types of skin cancer, so there is a large variety of signs and symptoms that may signal a problem. The four most widely known and diagnosed forms of skin cancer, and their presentations, include:
- AK (Actinic Keratoses): Most often, AK is related to sun exposure and presents itself on the hands, arms, head, neck, and other areas that are consistently exposed to sunlight. Patients, especially in their 40s or above, should look for dry, scaly patches in these areas as a possible sign of AK skin cancer.
- BCC (Basal Cell Carcinoma): You may have heard of basal cell carcinoma, as it is the most common kind of skin cancer and can appear on any part of the body. Be aware of flesh-colored or pearl-like bulges, or pink spots, as an early sign of BCC. These can escalate into a more serious condition and even spread to the bone and nerves if left untreated or caught too late.
- SCC (Squamous Cell Carcinoma): Squamous cell carcinoma is also primarily a sun-related condition and is the second most common type of skin cancer. Be conscious of red, scaly, firm bumps – or even frequently reoccurring open sores – as potential signs of squamous cell carcinoma. Unfortunately, if left untreated, these lesions can lead to severe damage and disfigurement.
- Melanoma: In modern times, even children and teens are aware of the severity of melanoma. This rare – yet deadly – form of skin cancer is typically characterized by the sudden appearance of a spot on the skin or a rapid change in the appearance of an existing spot on the skin. Melanoma symptoms, which are usually characterized by the ABCDE method, should be taken very seriously and evaluated by a board-certified dermatologist immediately. These include:
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of signs of skin cancer listed above – or if you have a family history of skin cancer – it is imperative that you seek evaluation and treatment with a medical skin cancer screening in Clear Lake right away. Should a suspicious mole or lesion be identified, our team will be able to remove it, send it for biopsy, and recommend an appropriate course of action.
How often should I get a skin cancer check?
Men, women, and children of all ages and skin types can develop skin cancer at any time, making regular skin cancer screenings essential. Generally speaking, the knowledgeable providers at Clear Lake Dermatology recommend scheduling a skin cancer check once each year, though patients who have additional risk factors – such as fair skin, suspicious moles, or a family history of skin cancer – may be advised to come in more frequently. Using advanced technology, our team is able to keep comprehensive records of each patient’s skin spots, moles, and other attributes in order to track meaningful changes over time and catch anything that may be worrisome.
Stay healthy with regular skin cancer screenings in Webster, TX
With all the regular appointments, we have to keep up with each year, including eye exams, dental cleanings, mammograms, PAP smears, and more, a routine skin check may seem insignificant. However, with millions of men and women diagnosed with skin cancer each year, regular skin cancer screenings are vital practices for maintaining health and wellness.
Don’t leave that seemingly harmless freckle or mole to chance; schedule your comprehensive skin cancer screening with one of the renowned board-certified dermatologists at Clear Lake Dermatology in Webster or League City, TX today, and get the reassurance you need to know your skin is healthy, vibrant, and cancer-free!