What's the most frequent cancer among Americans? It's skin cancer, according to the CDC, and although common, this potentially deadly malignancy can be cured if treated early. At Hecker Dermatology Group in Tamarac and Pompano Beach, FL, your board-certified skin doctors teach their patients to recognize possible signs of skin cancer, particularly in moles. Drs. David and Melanie Hecker know that knowledge truly is power, and in the case of skin cancer, it can save lives.
How do we develop skin cancer?
Experts at the Cleveland Clinic maintain that ultra-violet radiation from the sun and other sources, such as tanning beds, leads to pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions on the skin. Other predisposing factors are:
- Being fair-skinned
- Severe and/or frequent sunburns at an early age
Of the three kinds of skin cancers (squamous cell and basal cell being the other types), malignant melanoma is the most insidious and dangerous. It spreads rapidly to other areas of the skin and to major body organs. As with all skin cancers, cure rates soar when lesions are detected in their earliest stages.
Watching your moles
Each year, all people over the age of 40 should have a comprehensive skin examination with their dermatologist. However, eyes-on inspection begins at home, it is important that all patients regularly check for possible skin cancer signs and other changes once a month.
In particular, moles require due diligence. These small, round to oval spots of deep pigmentation may change into skin cancer. Moles, or nevi, often cluster in groups, and a cancerous or pre-cancerous mole may stand out from its neighbors. This is called the Ugly Duckling Sign.
Additionally, moles may exhibit other potentially dangerous deviations over time. The American Academy of Dermatology formulated the ABCDEs of mole inspection to help patients recognize and report changes that they may observe.
- A stands for asymmetry. If one half of a mole does not match the other in size, shape, color, or texture, be sure to show it to Dr. Hecker as soon as possible.
- B means border. If a mole is healthy, its edges will be smooth and not scalloped or notched.
- C stands for color. Healthy moles are one color throughout—typically brown or black. Varying shades of color indicate pre-cancer or cancer.
- D means diameter. If a mole is very large (> 6 millimeters) or grows with time, show it to your skin doctor.
- E stands for evolving. Healthy moles look the same in size, color, and texture for years. If you have a mole which darkens, itches, bleeds, or otherwise changes in appearance, see your dermatologist for a skin exam.
At Hecker Dermatology Group, our professional team offers a wide range of medical and aesthetic skin services to help you keep your skin at its healthiest. Learn more about self-examination by calling for a consultation with one of our physicians today! Our number is (954) 783-2323.