Summer Series Part III
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Skin cancer is the abnormal growth of skin cells and most often occurs as a results of sun exposure (or tanning beds). Unlike other cancers, skin cancer is the one you can see. To stop it, you must spot it on time. 99% of skin cancers are curable if they are diagnosed and treated early.
What you can do is examine your skin for the warning signs by doing a self-exam once a month. If you spot anything that does not look right, get it checked. You can get an annual full body skin exam from a licensed provider as well.
The ABCDE of skin cancer tells you what to look for.
A- stands for asymmetry – which means having two sides that are not the same.
B- for border-uneven borders.
C- for color – variety of colors in the same lesion such as black, tan, or brown.
D- for diameter. If the lesion has grown larger than the size of a pencil eraser.
E- for evolution. If the lesion changes in size, shape, color, or elevation.
If you are unsure of a spot, take a picture with your cell phone so you can compare and bring to show your healthcare provider. Some people are at higher risk of skin cancer because they work in the sun, they lay out in the sun without protection, or even tanning beds. You are also at a higher risk if you have had skin cancer before. Play it safe and get checked because early detection is key. AND wear at least 30 SPF sunblock for prevention.