Skin cancer is fairly common when compared to other kinds of cancer. Skin spots may not hurt or itch at first, which is why it is important to be proactive by watching for warning signs. Early detection is key to treating skin cancer. The farther that cancer spreads throughout the skin, the more difficult it is to treat. Early detection can lower the likelihood of a scar during the removal process, or in certain instances, it can even prevent a fatality. As you may know, it is helpful to see a dermatologist once per year to ensure there are no initial signs of skin cancer. Those who may be at a higher risk of obtaining melanoma could have freckles, red or blonde hair, blue eyes, light skin or the disease may have been in their family in the past.
In addition to seeing a dermatologist, examining your skin is also imperative; once monthly should be adequate. You can do this easily by paying attention to the various marks or moles that may appear on your skin. Becoming familiar with your skin can ensure that you will notice if any irregular spots appear that could be cancerous.
Patients should notice skin irregularities and examine them with the “ABCDE” method often suggested by dermatologists; this is an acronym for asymmetry, border irregularity, color variation, diameter growth and evolution on any skin mark.
Other signs of skin cancer can include:
• Scaly skin patches
• Growth similar to the form of a dome
• Streak beneath a nail (black or brown)
• A sore that disappears and comes back (or non-healing)
• Bleeding spots on the skin
• Spots on the skin that appear different from others
Melanoma specifically can begin spreading horizontally on the skin prior to moving inward to spread the disease. If you encounter any abnormalities or notice any signs of skin cancer, skin cancer treatment in Atlanta is available by scheduling an appointment with us at Premier Dermatology and Mohs Surgery of Atlanta. Contact us today to book a consultation at our office in Alpharetta.