As skin cancer awareness month comes to a close, Alaska Family Dermatology wants to remind you to protect your skin from UV exposure. With over 5 million cases in the United States, skin cancer is the most common cancer, but also the most preventable.
Skin cancer does not discriminate based on age, ethnicity, or gender, and can attack various parts of the body. Reggae superstar Bob Marley first discovered melanoma (an aggressive type of skin cancer) under his toe while playing soccer in 1977; without treatment it metastasized to his vital organs and killed him in just three years.
The earlier skin cancer can be detected and treated, the greater the odds of survival. We encourage you to schedule a visit if you experience any of the following:
- any change in the size, color, shape, or texture of a mole or other skin growth
- an open or inflamed skin wound that is slow to heal melanoma is particularly dangerous and patients should be mindful to observe:
- a change in an existing mole
- a small, dark, multi-colored spot with irregular borders, either elevated or flat, that may bleed and form a scab
- a cluster of shiny, firm, dark bumps
- a mole larger than a pencil eraser
These symptoms can be remembered as the ABCDEs of melanoma: Asymmetry, irregular Borders, changes in Color, Diameter larger than a pencil eraser, and Evolution of a mole’s characteristics (including size, shape, color, elevation, bleeding, itching, and/or crusting).