Skin Cancer: Warning Signs, Prevention and Self-Examination

Skin Cancer: Warning Signs, Prevention and Self-Examination

Skin cancer comes in three forms, but the two most common – which correspond to 90% of all cases – are the Basal Carcionoma and the Squamous. The third form of skin cancer is known and Malignant Melanoma and, as its own name suggests, this type of skin cancer is the most dangerous beyond them all. It can disseminate threw the whole body, leading to death.

Luckily, the chances of cure in all cases are of practically 100% if the disease is detected in time for adequate treatment. Therefore it is extremely important to avoid the contraction of skin cancer and beware for warning signs and symptoms. This is why you should include in your routine three fundamental habits:

1. Regular use of sunscreen, both in physical and chemical forms;
2. Take care for exaggerated sun exposure and artificial tanning procedures;
3. Self-examination for skin cancer symptoms and immediate consult with your dermatologist in case of any alteration on moles, signs and any skin spots you may have;

Over-exposing your body to UV radiation not only damages your skin, but may also harm your eyes, lower your organism’s defenses and cause premature aging. It is important to note that nobody is free of the possibility to develop skin cancer or other diseases due to excessive sun exposure. However, the risks are higher for those who fit into at least one of the following features:

• Light-skinned people;
• Family history of skin cancer or previous personal experiences;
• Chronic sun exposure;
• History of severe sunburns during infancy and/or adolescence;
• People who have a great number of freckles and other skin signs.

Warning Signs

Skin cancer may be detected early because of the symptoms shown on the skin. By self-examining yourself, beware for the following signs:

• New wounds or alterations such as: growth of the wound and a “pearl” aspect. They might be semi-transparency, brown, red, pink our multicolored.
• Alterations in skin signs, such as: change of color and/or texture and alterations on its borders, leaving them with and irregular shape, and growth.
• Itchiness and signs that bleed, heal and, after a while, reappear;
• Rough skin areas;
• Redness and swelling of a sign;
• New signs appearing after the age of 21.

Remember your ABCD:

• A – Asymmetry: If you trace a straight line right at the middle of a benignant sign, their half’s will be practically equal; in a malignant sign, it won’t.

• B – Border: a benignant sign has regular shapes and forms. The malignant signs are irregular in their shapes, forms and textures.

• C – Color: the benignant signs are normally brown and uniform; malignant signs may have a brown-and-black coloration and sometimes may be red, white and even blue.

• D – Diameter: a malignant sign is normally bigger than a pencil’s diameter.

How to self-examine your skin for skin cancer

One in every five American men develop skin cancer, hence the importance of the self-examination. Combined with an annual consult with your dermatologist, the self-exam for skin cancer made every trimester is the best method to detect the first alterations. Look for signs and any other alterations in your skin. You’ll have to do this in a bright room, with the use of a handy mirror and a chair. Follow the instructions below:

1. Examine your head and face, scalp and palpate the lymph nodes of your neck.

2. Examine your hands, including fingernails. Don’t forget your elbows and arms.

3. Examine your thorax and back. Women should also examine the area below the breasts.

4. Facing backwards to a bigger mirror use your handy mirror to inspection the back of your neck, buttocks, arms, back, thighs and legs.

5. Seated, examine your legs and feet, including fingernails. Use your handy mirror to examine the genitals.

Follow the instructions below and prevent skin cancer:

• Limit your time of sun exposure and avoid the sun between 10h and 15h;
• Use hats and appropriate clothes;
• Use sunscreen on a regular basis with protection above 15 UPS. When exposed daily to sunlight, reapply every two hours;
• Avoid artificial tanning;
• Keep your kids out of the sun. Sunscreen may be used in children above six months old.

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