Skin Cancer: What You Should Look For
Approximately one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer at some point during their lifetime. With melanoma incidence rates increasing over the last thirty years, it’s vitally important to be proactive about your skincare regime to ensure that you protect yourself against skin cancer. While our dermatologist Dr. Naga Meduri offers skin cancer screenings (which everyone should get at least once a year), it's also important that you understand what to look for so that you know when it's time to come into our practice for an evaluation.
What are some signs of skin cancer?
Even a mole that you’ve had your whole life can turn into melanoma, a serious and potentially life-threatening skin cancer. While many moles often won’t turn cancerous, if you spend a lot of time in the sun (perhaps you work outdoors), if you don’t wear sunscreen, or if you’ve ever had a bad sunburn, then you may be at an increased risk of developing skin cancer.
You should call our dermatologist as soon as possible if you notice any of these changes to a mole or growth:
- Color changes or the presence of more than one color in your moles
- Itching or scaling
- An increase in size or a change in its shape
- Blurry or undefined edges
- A lump in the mole
How can I prevent skin cancer?
One of the best ways to protect your skin from skin cancer is by wearing sunscreen every day (yes, even on cloudy days and during the winter); unfortunately, this habit is not something that many people adopt. If you haven’t been using sunscreen it’s never too late to start.
Here’s how to ensure that you are getting the most from wearing sunscreen:
- Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is also water-resistant
- Look for a sunscreen that has at least an SPF of 30
- Apply a generous amount of sunscreen about 20 minutes before going outside
- Apply sunscreen to all areas of exposed skin on the face or body
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or immediately after sweating or swimming