When To See A Dermatologist

July 24, 2014

Exposure to damaging UV rays, including sunburns from childhood, can cause wrinkles, moles, bumps, and scaly patches to appear years later on the surface of your skin. Examine your skin regularly and visit a dermatologist when a growth, mole, or spot seems suspicious or has changed in appearance. Remember, skin cancers are most effectively treated when detected early. Descriptions, provided by The American Cancer Society, of the most common skin cancers are listed below: Basal cell carcinomas: Flat, firm, pale areas or raised pink-red translucent, shiny, pearly bumps. Large basal cell carcinomas may have oozing or crusted areas. Squamous cell carcinomas: Growing lumps with a rough, scaly, or crusted surfaces, or flat reddish patches that grow slowly. Actinic keratosis: A pre-cancer lesion caused by too much sun exposure. These pink, red, or flesh colored spots may have rough or scaly surfaces. Melanomas: The most serious form of skin cancer. Use the ABCDE rule as a detection guide:

  • A = Asymmetry: One half of a mole does not match the other.
  • B = Border:The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.
  • C = Color: The color is not the same all over.
  • D = Diameter:The spot is larger than a pencil eraser. Some melanomas are smaller.
  • E = Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape, or color.

Other skin cancer warning signs:

  • A sore that does not heal
  • Spread of pigment from inside the border of a mole or spot to the surrounding skin
  • Redness or new swelling beyond the border of a mole or spot
  • Change in sensation – itchiness, tenderness, or pain
  • Change in the surface of a mole or spot – scaling, oozing, bleeding, or new bump or growths

When to see a dermatologist is best decided whenever any questionable changes to your skin occur. Although many skin issues are not serious, it’s always best to get it checked and rule out skin cancer.

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