If you had a cancerous skin lesion, would you know it? Here at Advanced Desert Dermatology in Peoria, AZ, Dr. Vernon Thomas Mackey educates his patients about skin cancer, including on how to recognize prevent it. After all, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) reports that 9500 new cases are diagnosed in the US every day. Therefore, no one can ignore the threat of skin cancer.
Kinds of skin cancer
The most common type of skin malignancy is basal cell carcinoma, followed closely by squamous cell carcinoma. While neither is necessarily life-threatening, both require prompt detection and treatment.
Malignant melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer that, if left undetected, spreads quickly to other areas of the body, including major organs such as the brain. The American Society of Clinical Oncology mentions that while melanoma accounts for only one percent of skin cancer diagnoses, it causes the majority of skin cancer deaths.
What you should look for
Most people develop skin cancer on areas of the body that are prominently exposed to sunlight—ears, shoulders, and face to name a few. However, you could acquire lesions anywhere, so it's critical for you to both inspect your skin for changes on a monthly basis as well as see Dr. Mackey for an annual skin cancer check-up in his Peoria office.
At home, take note of freckles, spots, or moles that itch, burn, or bleed. Sores that do not heal within a week or so are suspicious as well. The American Academy of Dermatology advises using this mnemonic to evaluate your moles or skin spots at home:
- A means asymmetry. The left side of the cancerous mole is not equal in size and shape to the other side.
- B means border. Healthy moles have smooth edges. Cancerous ones have notched or irregular ones.
- C stands for color. A mole that changes in color over time or has many colors throughout should be checked by your physician.
- D means diameter. Healthy moles are no larger than a pencil eraser or pea.
- E equals evolution. Has your mole changed in size, shape or texture?
Preventing skin cancer
The team at Advanced Desert Dermatology recommends the following tips to prevent skin cancer:
- Stay inside or seek shade at peak sun times--between 10 am to 4 pm.
- Cover up if you must be in the sun.
- Wear an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen.
- Re-apply sunscreen lotion every two hours, whenever sweating or after swimming.
- Avoid sunburns.
If you are concerned at any time about a spot on your skin, see Dr. Mackey right way. Dial (823) 977-6700 today to set up an appointment with Advanced Desert Dermatology in Peoria, AZ.