How to Detect the Warning Signs of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is a very real and present danger for many people. It is a leading cause of death today, and should not be taken lightly. Although many people are screened for a variety of cancers by their healthcare professionals each year, simple detection at home can catch this deadly disease early.
The first step in early detection is being aware. Check your skin monthly for new moles, particularly on your face, shoulders, arms, and legs, or other areas frequently exposed to the sun. If it helps you to keep a list or photographs, do so; it may save you considerable confusion as you try to remember which moles were there before your most recent check.
Note the size, shape, and color of the mole. If it seems abnormal, contact your doctor. If it seems normal, be sure to watch it carefully as you check your skin every month, in order to ensure it is not changing color, size, or shape.
Check the mole regularly to ensure it has not changed drastically. If a dramatic change does occur, contact your doctor immediately to be checked for skin cancer. If you have a history of skin disease in your family, or you yourself suffer from a non-cancerous skin disorder, you should not wait to contact your doctor or other healthcare provider.
If the mole does change, note what about it has changed in your call to your physician. Changes in size, shape, or color are all significant. Note the time and date of the times you check the mole, and how much it has changed. It may help you to write down detailed descriptions or take photographs with an item like a coin or pencil near the mole to scale it.
Contact you doctor and make an appointment with him or her, to be screened for cancer. You should do this immediately, and not consult with online medical websites beforehand. The internet cannot treat your potential cancer, but your physician can.
Bring your notes to the appointment to show your doctor. The more accurate your note taking is, the better it will serve your doctor in his or her diagnosis. Try to keep your notes dated, to help show the timeline of your skin irregularities.
If you doctor recommends it, see a dermatologist, oncologist, or other skin or cancer specialist. Enter that appointment with an open mind. Should you dislike the specialist or you would like a second opinion, tell your doctor and he or she can refer you to another professional.
If your family has a history of skin cancer, you should check your skin more often, and be more concerned if irregularities occur.
It is very important, particularly in those who have a family history of it, to take skin cancer very seriously. You should use the previous tips as guidelines, and consult with your doctor whenever you notice irregularities. Skin cancer, like all cancers, is a very serious disease that can cause death; you should act urgently whenever you notice changes to your skin.