As summer approaches, the thought of basking in the sun may sound more than appealing, especially after a long winter. However, taking care to ensure you protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays and learning to identify skin cancer in its earliest stages is essential to your health. Find out more about skin cancer and its symptoms with Dr. Vernon Thomas Mackey at Advanced Desert Dermatology in Peoria, AZ.
What is skin cancer?
Cancer itself occurs when cells in the body begin to divide rapidly without stopping, forming a growth called a tumor. Skin cancer occurs when the cells in the skin begin dividing and cause tumors. These cells produce what appears to be a mole. However, cancerous moles have a slightly different appearance than healthy moles. Learning how to spot these differences can help you identify and treat skin cancer in its earliest, most curable stages.
The ABCDEs of Identifying Skin Cancer
Using the ABCDEs can help you determine whether you have an abnormal mole.
- Asymmetrical: Regular moles have a symmetrical shape and are the same on both sides. Cancerous moles are asymmetrical and do not appear to be fluid in shape.
- Border: The border of a normal mole is smooth and round or ovular. Cancerous moles tend to have jagged or oddly-shaped borders.
- Color: A normal mole is pink to brown in color and has only one color within its borders. Cancerous moles may have two or more colors.
- Diameter: The diameter of a normal mole is about 6 millimeters or less. A mole over 6 millimeters, or about the size of a pencil eraser, should be examined by your dermatologist.
- Evolution: Normal moles do not change in size, shape, or color. Cancerous moles evolve and change in shape, color, or size, often quickly or over the period of a few months.
Skin Cancer Treatments in Peoria, AZ
Treating skin cancer varies from patient to patient and depends on the size, severity, and location of the cancerous cells. The most common treatment for skin cancer is to remove the cancerous mole and the skin around it. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy may also be necessary. Your doctor can help you ensure that you have the best treatment for your condition.
For more information on skin cancer or its early detection, please contact Dr. Mackey at Advanced Desert Dermatology in Peoria, AZ. Call (623) 977-6700 to schedule your skin examination today!