A Changing Mole – How Can You Tell If You Have Skin Cancer?
Experts state that the best way to check to see if you have skin cancer is to do a monthly examination, checking moles, birthmarks and skin bumps for any changes. A yearly examination by your doctor is also recommended. Most people have many moles, freckles, and birthmarks on their bodies, but since they are so common, it is easy not to notice any slight changes in them. Since early detection is key to curing skin cancer, it is important to really notice the bumps and spots on your body. A common practice is to have a notebook where you note the position and appearance of any marks on your body so that any changes will be obvious.
All three main kinds of skin cancer are visible to the human eye, including melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer. Melanoma is the most difficult form of skin cancer to stop once it has started to spread though the body, so it is important to watch for it and get early treatment. The true fact is that all skin cancer is treatable if detected early enough.
You should check for a change in a moles size, shape or color, and if the edges change. If a mole starts to grow, and becomes as large as or larger than a pencil eraser, or if it is not a solid brown, but multi colored, you should immediately go to a doctor. This is a potential warning of the onset of skin cancer. If a mole starts to bleed or grows rapidly, or you notice any changes, it is wise to get it checked out by a physician immediately.
If you are in doubt about going to a doctor, thinking that the change is not that apparent, in this case it is always better to be safe than sorry. Go to your family doctor who will advise you to go to a dermatologist if needed. You should be prepared to ask your doctor any questions that you have and you should not be afraid to find out the facts about the treatment and the likelihood for success. If indeed the diagnosis is not good, your doctor may recommend you to a therapist who deals in patient crisis.
To test to confirm or deny the presence of skin cancer, all or part of the questionable area is removed, and examined under a microscope. If it is skin cancer, surgery is often used to remove the cancerous area, a quick and painless procedure in the early stages. There may be a scar left from the removal of all of the cancerous cells, but usually the doctor is able to use a very small incision, so the scar is usually small enough not to be noticeable. If the cancer is large, or has spread to the surrounding area, the doctor may tell you that more surgery is needed, along with a course of radiation or chemotherapy treatments.
The best advice for prevention of skin cancer is to cover up when you go out into the sun, wear sunscreen, cover up, and be smart by paying attention to your skin and any changes.