Warmer days means more time spent outdoors in the sun, whether that includes hanging by the pool, working in the yard, or hosting a barbecue. As you’re spending more time outside, it’s important to remember that increased sun exposure leads to an increased potential for developing skin cancer.
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Furthermore, having five or more sunburns over a lifetime doubles your chances of getting melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer. However, if caught early, the five-year survival rate for melanoma is 99%.
Some of the ways to help mitigate your skin cancer risk include making sunscreen a daily part of your beauty routine, wearing protective clothing, and getting an annual skin check by your dermatologist to catch any suspect moles or discolorations that can turn into cancer.
Why is it so important to see your dermatologist? An expert can help with early detection, spotting some of the most missed signs of skin cancer. Read on to see some of the most common ones.
When we see ourselves in the mirror every day, we may not notice the subtle changes in our skin. The mole that was
perfectly healthy five years ago may have evolved into something more suspicious without your knowledge. Your
dermatologist can help you identify the asymmetry, uneven borders and unusual colors that could possibly be malignant.
The “Ugly Duckling”
Moles are common and normal, but if one of your spots is not like the other you may have an “ugly duckling,” another common warning sign of melanoma. If one of your moles is darker, lighter or otherwise different from the others it may be time to make an appointment with your dermatologist.
Wounds That Don’t Heal
It’s easy to write off wounds as simple injuries to the skin. If you’re unsure of the origin and it simply won’t heal it may be more harmful than you think. If a wound doesn’t go away on its own within a couple weeks, it’s time to see a dermatologist to avoid possible infection and rule out cancer.
Painless, Light-Colored Bumps
Your skin is your largest organ. It’s always changing and regenerating, so it’s easy to ignore the small differences over time —especially when they blend in with the rest of your skin tone. A white, yellow, or waxy area might not immediately grab your attention, but could be a sign of basal cell carcinoma. Similarly, painless, firm, shiny lumps on the skin might be ignored as acne or a blocked pore, but it can also be a possible sign of squamous cell carcinoma.
Along with taking precautions against sun exposure, an annual skin check is your first line of defense against preventing the spread of skin cancer. Schedule your yearly skin exam and discuss your options by contacting The Dermatology Center of Indiana today!