Your skin is your largest organ; it also happens to be an organ you can see. This means that if something is wrong, you'll likely be able to spot it. Early detection of skin cancer increases the odds of successful treatment. But what do you need to be on the lookout for? We highlight the signs of skin cancer below.
The symptoms of skin cancer include but are not limited to:
Brown or black lines or splotches under nails
Crusted bumps that sometimes bleed
New or unusual-looking moles
Sores that refuse to heal or reappear frequently
Skin cancer dermatologists recommend looking for irregular shapes and colors, constantly itchy areas, and changes in freckles and spots.
Set aside a few minutes to thoroughly look everywhere on your body from top to bottom. This means parting your hair to check your scalp, asking a loved one to help you, and examining the sides of your toes and under your nails and feet. It means peeking inside your mouth and at your genitals. A mirror can help you with this process. Pay special attention to areas that receive exposure to sunlight, such as your face (don't forget your ears and lips), neck, arms, legs, and back.
You should perform skin cancer checks at least once every month and more frequently if you've had cancer before. Make it a habit and encourage your friends and family members to do the same. Do your inspection in the morning, and apply water-resistant sunscreen to your skin as the last step in your routine.
There's no point worrying until you get a confirmed diagnosis. So stay calm and prioritize going to see a dermatologist. Focus on the fact that non-melanoma skin cancers are common and easily treatable. The outlook for a positive patient outcome is good even though words like basal cell carcinoma sound scary.
Serious melanomas are rare and account for about 1% of skin cancer cases. Early treatment can prevent this type of cancer from spreading to other parts of your body, and long-term remission is possible with recent medical advancements.
When it comes to skin cancer, err on the side of caution and keep an eye out for changes in your skin. If you notice something concerning, book a consultation at one of our full-service practices in Cartersville, Columbus, Douglasville, or Rome for peace of mind.
Southeast Dermatology Specialists offers advanced skin cancer screenings. We specialize in Mohs Micrographic Surgery, which has the highest cure rate for skin cancer and leaves patients with little scarring. We also offer expertise in cosmetic dermatology.