Worried About Skin Cancer?

November 7, 2012

When you stop to think about the fact that your skin is your largest organ, and it’s often the only thing standing between you and the harmful rays of the sun, it’s no surprise that skin cancer is one of today’s most commonly diagnosed cancers. People who live in sunny regions should be especially worried about skin cancer. The good news is that skin cancer is both preventable and treatable.

Preventing Skin Cancer

Unlike other types of cancer prevention tips, which recommend various foods and activities based mainly on statistical number-crunching, skin cancer prevention tips are well established in facts and research. Plus, they’re pretty straightforward. Simply protect your skin from the sun, and you will reduce your chances of developing skin cancer dramatically. But if you take care to wear sunscreen or protective clothing whenever you’re in the sun, you can help prevent the premature aging, skin damage, and cancer risks associated with UV rays.

Screening for Skin Cancer

Many types of skin cancer are relatively easy to treat, especially if you catch the cancer early. Again, unlike other types of cancer screenings, skin cancer screenings are pretty straightforward, mainly because you can learn a lot from a visual examination. Here’s what to look for during an at-home skin cancer screening:

  • Asymmetrical moles
  • Moles with jagged borders
  • Unusual colors
  • Spots larger than the tip of a pencil eraser
  • Bleeding, itching, or crusting
  • Sores that don’t heal normally
  • Changes in any of the above

All of these things can be indicators of some type of skin cancer, but perhaps the most important one is change. If you perform your at-home skin cancer screening once a month, as directed by The Skin Cancer Foundation, you will become familiar with your body and better equipped to notice small changes in your skin.

If you notice any items from the above list or other skin abnormalities, you should schedule a screening exam with your dermatologist immediately. Help your dermatologist catch the cancer early, and your odds of successfully treating and even eradicating it improve dramatically.