Though most people have a mole, not everyone is aware that these common skin marks can be a sign of something more. Skin cancer affects thousands of Americans every year but is highly treatable in its early stages. This makes it important to understand the signs and symptoms of skin cancer and what to watch for in your moles. Find out more about skin cancer and its symptoms with Dr. Joseph Myers at Magnolia Dermatology in Charleston, SC.
What are the signs of skin cancer?
The American Academy of Dermatology makes detecting the signs of skin cancer easy with the ABCDE mole examination method:
- Asymmetry: A mole should be symmetrical and are almost always round or ovular in shape.
- Border: A healthy mole’s border is continuous and does not contain any jagged or misshapen lines.
- Color: The color of a healthy mole can range from pink to brown. However, the color is continuous and the mole should not have more than one color within its border.
- Diameter: If the diameter of a mole is more than 6 millimeters or the size of the tip of a pencil eraser, you should have it seen by your doctor.
- Evolution: A healthy mole remains the same over a period of time and does not change. Skin cancer may change shape or color or grow in size.
Skin Cancer Treatments
If your doctor finds you have a suspicious mole, they will likely take a biopsy to test for cancerous cells. Treatment for skin cancer depends on the stage of the cancer, its size, the general health of the patient, and the type of cancer present. Surgery to remove the cancerous cells is often the first step in treating skin cancer. Chemotherapy may also help eliminate any remaining cancerous cells. Your doctor will help you find the best treatment option for you.
Preventing Skin Cancer in Charleston, SC
Preventing skin cancer begins with avoiding the sun’s harmful UV rays. This means wearing an SPF of at least 30 on all exposed areas of skin every day. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect the skin on your face and neck. Try to avoid going out in the sun during its most powerful times of the day. Regular skin examinations with your dermatologist can greatly reduce your risk of skin cancer by finding and catching suspicious moles early.
For more information on skin cancer detection or treatments in the Charleston, SC area, please contact Dr. Myers at Magnolia Dermatology. Call (843) 769-2100 to schedule your routine skin examination.