Skin cancer affects millions of people every year, making it the most common type of cancer. It may be lethal, but in most cases, when detected and treated in the right time, it can be successfully removed. Doing a complete self-examination is an important way to check for skin cancer, before it starts being life-threatening. Skin self-exam takes no more than ten minutes to finish and needs to be done every month. You should also ask a close friend or family member to help identify skin cancer before it could become dangerous, by identifying suspicious areas of skin that are difficult to get to or notice. You should also visit the doctor every year for a professional skin exam.
The goal of self-examination is identifying any patches of skin that can serve as indication of skin cancer. Skin cancer usually can be seen in different ways – depending on what type of skin cancer an individual has. Three most usual types of skin cancer are called the basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. The first two types are usually occurring on the skin parts that are often exposed to the sun rays, such as face, ears, head, neck, hands, arms and leg areas. Third type, basal cell carcinoma, grows as an open sore that doesn’t heal, as well as a pearly, abnormal region growth. Squamous cell carcinoma is usually looking like a thick sore, resembling a wart, or a red, scaly area with irregular borders. Melanoma usually shows as a differently colored mole, of irregular shape on the head, neck, lower leg or trunk areas. When performing self-examination, you should note what is known as the “ABCDE’s” of melanoma, which are the following characteristics:
- Asymmetry – one part of the mole is different from the others;
- Border irregularity: mole edges are irregular, or poorly defined;
- Color variation: mole is multi-colored.
- Diameter: the mole diameter is larger than 6mm
- Evolving: the mole is different from the other moles, or has changed its shape, color, size or in other ways.
To do self-examination of the skin, you should look for any abnormal growths, carefully checking your hands first, then, standing in front of a full-length mirror; examine your face, ears, neck, chest and torso. Women should also check their breasts as well. Then proceed to checking your underarms, elbows and the front and back sides of the arms. Continue by turning back to the mirror and use a handheld mirror to check your neck, shoulders, back, buttocks and the back side of your legs. To complete the exam, carefully examine your genitals, front side of your legs and feet. Performing a skin examination once a month can help to detect skin cancer during the early stages, which will lead to successful treatment. Not any unusual growths on the body and report them to your physician.
However it is advisable to contact a plastic surgeon to evaluate a skin lesion and rule out any chances of malignancy. If the lesion like mole or skin Tag is cosmetically disfiguring then it could be safely removed without any scars using Radio Frequency or Carbondioxide Laser. The procedure could be completed in the outpatient room In less than 20 min under topical or local anesthesia. Post excision you would be advised to apply an antibiotic ointment until the wound heals.