Skin Cancer: Examining Skin Growths
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It can be scary to find a new lesion or an expanding mole on your body. Which growths are serious and which aren't? Watch our Skin Cancer: Examining Skin Growth video to learn more.
Transcript: It can be frightening to find a strange-looking lesion or an expanding mole on your body! In this video,...
It can be frightening to find a strange-looking lesion or an expanding mole on your body! In this video, dermatologist Hadley King discusses what might be happening on your skin. There are three main types of skin cancer and each looks a little bit different. Skin Cancer can be fatal if allowed to spread to the body's vital organs. That's why every suspicious looking growth should be examined by a dermatologist. The main forms of skin cancer include melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. In addition, precancerous lesions, known as actinic keratoses, can also appear on the skin. If left untreated, actinic keratoses, or AKs, can develop into the skin cancer squamous cell carcinoma. That's why it's important to identify AKs early. AKs do vary in appearance. They can range in size from that of a pinhead to a quarter, and in color from light tan to red. Occasionally, a raised growth, called a cutaneous horn, will form. Basal cell carcinoma, or BCC, is the most common form of skin cancer. It can crop up in a variety of ways and is sometimes confused for other skin conditions, like melanoma or a mild rash. I used to be obsessed with tanning-I was always at the local pool! Then one day, my husband noticed a small red patch on my skin. We thought it was a rash, but it didn't go away, so I went to see a dermatologist. Turns out, I had basal cell carcinoma! I was lucky that my doctor diagnosed and treated me quickly. A BCC tumor will often appear as a smooth, round growth that's pearly gray or yellow and may bleed regularly. A pimple-like growth with a crusted surface and a threadlike border is also indicative of a BCC. A basal cell carcinoma can also appear as a scar-like growth that spreads rapidly. The second type of non-melanoma skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, can begin as an AK lesion. However, SCC typically shows up as a wart-like growth that is thick and rough. SCC tumors may have a crusty top that occasionally bleeds. This type of cancer can also manifest as an open sore that bleeds for weeks at a time. The most serious form of skin cancer is melanoma. If left untreated and allowed to spread, melanoma can result in death. Usually, this type of cancer shows up as a new mole, or as a mole that changes in appearance. Any mole that changes in color or grows bigger should be checked out by a dermatologist. In addition, a mole that has uneven borders or appears to be asymmetrical can be a melanoma. While a mole on its own is not necessarily cancerous, it's important to be aware that people with more than 50 of these growths are more likely to be candidates for melanoma. If diagnosed early, most skin cancers can be treated! But because it's very difficult to Identify skin lesions, talk to your doctor immediately if you notice any changes in the appearance or texture of your skin.More »
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Cancer is terrifying, but unless we're faced with the numbers we don't take preventative measures. Get educated about cancer statistics--whether you're learning about a survival rate or your chances of getting sick, you should know the facts.
Last Modified: 2011-02-16 | Tags »
Pre-cancerous lesions called actinic keratoses, crop up on millions of Americans every year. Let's take a closer look at AKs.
Transcript: More than ten million Americans have pre-cancerous growths, known as actinic keratoses, on their skin....
More than ten million Americans have pre-cancerous growths, known as actinic keratoses, on their skin. What exactly are actinic keratoses? Actinic keratoses, or AKs, are a common skin condition characterized by rough, scaly patches, on the top layer of skin. AKs occur due to sun exposure over long periods of time. Although AKs are not actually cancer they are classified as the earliest stage in its development. AKs are not always dangerous, but 16 percent of untreated cases will grow into squamous cell carcinoma, a type of skin cancer. All AKs develop from keratinocytes, which are the tough-walled cells that make up 90 percent of the skin's outer layer. Years of sun damage can cause these cells to change in size and shape, resulting in the skin lesions that are characteristic of AKs. AKs usually develop on areas of the skin that receive the most exposure to sunlight. These include the face, ears, scalp, neck, forearms and the backs of hands. Sometimes, lesions appear on the lips, a condition that is called actinic cheilitis. AKs vary in appearance. They can range in size from that of a pinhead to a quarter, and in color from light tan to red. On occasion, a lesion will grow into a small horn, called a cutaneous horn. Almost anyone can get AKs, however some people are more prone to them than others. It is certainly true that those who have spent a great amount of time in the sun are more likely to develop the growths. Because AKs develop with cumulative exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays, the skin lesions are most often found in people 50 years of age or older. Earlier occurrence is rare and can usually be linked to tanning beds and sunny locations. I spent 52 years working in construction, so I was always outside. Two years ago, a growth appeared on my scalp which wouldn't go away. Luckily, my doctor diagnosed me with actinic keratoses and quickly removed the lesion. People with fair skin, light hair and light eyes are usually more sensitive to the sun's rays, and therefore more likely to develop AKs on their skin. For this reason, individuals with darker skin types rarely develop these lesions. The prevalence of AKs is higher in men than in women. Although no one knows why, it has been theorized that this is due to greater likelihood that men will have outdoor occupations, and thus receive greater sun exposure. A weakened immune system, or immunosuppression, can also increase the odds of developing AKs. Many factors can stifle the immune system, among them: taking medication to prevent organ rejection, chemotherapy and the AIDS virus. Because AKs can progress to become squamous cell carcinoma, it's important for people with AKs to be under a dermatologist's care. A dermatologist will usually be able to treat actinic keratoses safely and effectively, ensuring that you stay healthy. Remember, see your doctor immediately if you have any concerns about your skin.More »
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Skin cancer is much more than just melanoma. See what you know about this common cancer. Take the quiz!
Last Modified: 2011-05-11 | Tags »
Treating Actinic Keratoses is very important as it can lead to serious skin problems. Watch this video to find out what common treatment methods are used.
Transcript: Pre-cancerous growths, called actinic keratoses, are the second most frequent reason that Americans visit...
Pre-cancerous growths, called actinic keratoses, are the second most frequent reason that Americans visit dermatologists. Here, we explore the options for treating actinic keratoses. At the first sign of the rough lesions that indicate actinic keratoses, or AKs, it is important to seek treatment from a dermatologist. This is vital, because untreated AKs can become skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. Although he is best known as our 41st President, in 2002, George H.W. Bush became one of the millions of people who successfully seek treatment for AKs. The former President underwent cryosurgery, a freezing procedure, to remove lesions on his face. Standard treatment for AKs can be broadly split into two categories: Surgical destruction and medicinal therapy. Common surgical destruction methods include cryosurgery, curettage, dermabrasion and laser resurfacing. Medical therapies include of Diclofenac sodium gel, Imiquimod, and topical chemotherapy. One of the newest treatment methods, photodynamic therapy, combines both medicinal and surgical therapies. Photodynamic therapy is the destruction of infected cells using a combination of a medication and a light source. When undergoing photodynamic therapy, a patient will start by applying topical medication. Several hours later, a doctor will treat the affected area with a light source. The light interacts with the medication to destroy pre-cancerous cells. The most common treatment for AKs is the one that was used to treat George Bush Senior, cryosurgery. This process is best suited for destroying a few, clearly identified, AKs. Cryosurgery is a freezing procedure where liquid nitrogen is applied to skin lesions with a spraying device. The nitrogen freezes the skin's surface. As the skin heals, AKs are sloughed off. Sometimes, lesions progress to such an advanced state that a procedure called curettage is preformed. When this happens, a patient first receives local anesthesia. Then, a spoon-shaped instrument called a curet is used to scrape off AKs. A similar treatment option that also requires local anesthesia is called dermabrasion. During this procedure, a rapidly moving brush is used to abrade and erode the affected skin cells. Medical therapy for AKs requires a patient to apply a prescription cream to affected areas. The creams differ in method of action and treatment time. The most frequently used medicinal treatment is a cream called 5-Fluoroucracil, or 5-FU. 5-FU destroys AK cells by blocking chemical reactions that are essential for the lesions to survive. It is imperative that pregnant and nursing women avoid using 5-FU cream. Another topical cream, called Imiquimod, must be applied for four to sixteen weeks and modifies the skin's immune system, encouraging it to reject the sun-damaged cells and fight the lesions. Diclofenac sodium gel is another topical medication, which is used to treat multiple AKs. The gel, which destroys AKs, is applied twice a day for two to three monthsAs you can see, there are many effective treatments for actinic keratoses. Be sure to talk to your dermatologist about the advantages and disadvantages of each.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-04 | Tags »
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Millions of people are diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma every year. By better understanding basal cell carcinoma, you can prevent or better treat this condition. Check out this video to learn more.
Transcript: Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of cancer, with more than 800,000 new cases diagnosed in...
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of cancer, with more than 800,000 new cases diagnosed in America each year. So what is basal cell carcinoma? Basal cell carcinoma, or BCC, is a type of skin cancer. Like other skin cancers, BCC usually results from chronic overexposure to the sun. One of the American Film Institute's "Greatest Stars of All Time," actress Elizabeth Taylor, is perhaps BCC's most famous victim. Elizabeth was known for her bathing suit body, but her chronic sun habit resulted in a cancer diagnosis in 2002. Although BCC can happen to any sun worshiper, certain factors put you at a higher risk for developing the disease.Fair skinned, light-eyed individuals who are over forty tend to be the prime candidates for this type of skin cancer. Historically, men are twice as likely as women to develop basal cell carcinoma. Let's look at how BCC develops on the epidermis, or skin. The epidermis has multiple layers. Repeated exposure to sunlight can cause DNA mutations in the deepest layer, the stratum basalis. The result, an abnormal growth in the epidermis, is basal cell carcinoma. Most BCCs show up on places that are repeatedly exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, shoulders and back. Although growths can vary in appearance, there are several warning signs to look for that may signal the onset of basal cell carcinoma. The most common type of BCC, nodular basal cell carcinoma, usually resembles a smooth, round pimple. Pale yellow or gray in color, nodular tumors may bleed after the slightest injury.Pigmented BCC is similar to nodular BCC, but it is more likely to appear in people with dark hair and dark eyes. These growths are brown or black in color, and can sometimes be mistaken for melanoma, a more aggressive cancer. A less common type of basal cell carcinoma, superficial BCC, is known for its slow spread across the skin. Superficial BCC tumors have slightly crusted surfaces, which are sometimes bordered by tiny threadlike formations. These tumors usually appear on the torso, but can also develop on the face and neck. Another uncommon variant of this cancer is called sclerosing or morpheaform BCC. This type of growth often resembles a scar and can be yellow or white in color. Usually, sclerosing BCCs grow quickly, reaching several centimeters in length over mere months. Additional rare forms of BCC include fibroepithelioma, pinkus lesions that appear on the back, and cystic BCC, a variant of nodular BCC which is filled with a gelatin-like fluid. Basal cell carcinoma tumors can vary greatly in form, so it's imperative that you get your skin checked regularly by a dermatologist.More »
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What is squamous cell carcinoma? This common type of skin cancer affects many, but is largely preventable. Learn to spot the signs.
Transcript: Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer, affecting 250,000 new Americans...
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer, affecting 250,000 new Americans annually. So what is squamous cell carcinoma? Squamous cell carcinoma, or SCC, is a type of cancer that forms on the skin's outermost layer. If left untreated and allowed to spread, SCC can cause severe scarring or-in up to 4 percent of cases-death. The best way to avoid these consequences is to avoid the sun! Like 90 percent of skin cancers, SCC almost always arises from overexposure to the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays. Chronic sun exposure isn't the only factor that can make you a more likely candidate to develop SCC. However, knowing if you're a high risk candidate can help you to protect yourself. Unlike the other types of non-melanoma skin cancer, SCC can arise from chronically scarred or inflamed skin. The Human Papaloma Virus, which often causes warts, can also lead to SCCPeople with weakened immune systems, or immunosuppression, have a higher risk of developing SCC. Possible causes of a weak immune system include the HIV virus and organ transplant medication. As with other skin cancers, people with fair skin, light hair and blue or green eyes have a higher risk of developing SCC. Many doctors believe that a family history of the disease, or a personal history of any cancer, may also be factors. SCC crops up most frequently in the male population over forty, so older men need to be extra vigilant about checking their skin for signs of cancerWhile being aware of your risk factors is the first step to keeping yourself safe from SCC, it's also important to know how skin cancer manifests itself and what it looks like. This basic knowledge could save your life! SCCs develop form keratinocytes, the tough-walled cells that make up 90 percent of the skin's outer layer. Years of sun damage can cause these cells to change in size and shape, resulting in the tumors that are characteristic of SCC. Often, SCCs appear first as rough, scaly patches on the skin. These precancerous lesions, known as actinic keratoses, or AKs, can eventually develop into SCCThe typical SCC manifests itself as a new or enlarging tumor that is thick and rough. Most tumors emerge on the head or neck, although any skin can be affected. Squamous cell carcinoma often appears to be a wart-like growth or a scaly, red patch that crusts on the top, and occasionally bleeds. Sometimes, SCC begins as an open sore that continuously bleeds and crusts for weeks at a time without really healing. If left untreated, squamous cell carcinoma can spread to vital organs and cause death, so it's imperative to see a doctor any time you notice changes in the appearance or texture of your skin.More »
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There are several ways of treating skin cancer and you should weigh all your options before deciding on a treatment plan. Watch the video and learn more.
Transcript: A diagnosis of a basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma cancer can be frightening. The first...
A diagnosis of a basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma cancer can be frightening. The first step to easing worry is to become aware of your treatment options. Basal cell carcinoma, or BCC, and squamous cell carcinoma, SCC, are classified as non-melanoma skin cancers. They account for 96 percent of all diagnosed skin cancers.Luckily, both can usually be treated with surgical procedures. Although BCC and SCC are both non-melanoma skin cancers, they are identified based on the cells from which they originate. BCC tumors grow from the deepest layer of the epidermis, the stratum basale, while SCCs arise from cells above the basal layer. Although they take different forms, non-melanoma skin cancers are usually treated in similar ways. One of the most common procedures for removing a tumor is called curettage and electrodesiccation. Curettage and electrodescciation requires local anesthesia. The procedure begins by scraping a tumor with a spoon-shaped instrument called a curette. Then, an electric needle burns the remaining cancer cells. Usually 3 cycles of wettage and electodessicayion are performed during the treatment Although curettage usually needs to be repeated, the success rate can be as high as 95 percent. Another option for removing non-melanoma tumors is excision. This is done by surgically removing a tumor and a patch of skin around it. After excision, the doctor will examine the removed skin to ensure that the cancer has been entirely removed. A doctor may also choose to freeze a cancerous tumor with liquid nitrogen. This procedure- known as cryosurgery-results in the sloughing away of damaged cells, allowing healthy skin to grow. Another effective treatment for non-melanoma cancers is Mohs micrographic surgery. This removal is performed while the patient is under local anesthesia. Layers of skin are removed one at a time and examined under a microscope until it is ensured that the entire tumor has been removed.Mohs surgery is not for everyone. It is an intense, lengthy operation that requires a highly specialized surgeon. However, the surgery spares as much skin as possible and has the highest reported five-year-cure rate for both BCC and SCC. While surgical procedures are the most common treatment for non-melanoma tumors, there are less invasive methods for removing cancerous cells. One of them, photodynamic therapy, destroys affected cells using a combination of medicine and a laser blue light source. When undergoing photodynamic therapy, a patient will start by applying a topical medication. Several hours later, a dermatologist treats the affected area with a light source. The interaction of the medicine and the light causes affected cells to die and peel away. Another method of treatment is a topical cream called Imiquimod. This cream is only approved to treat BCC tumors and pre-cancerous lesions called actinic keratoses. Imiquimod is applied by the patient once a day for five to seven weeks. The medication modifies the skin's immune system, encouraging it to reject the sun-damaged cells. There are many effective treatments for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Please talk to your dermatologist about the advantages and disadvantages of each.More »
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Melanoma is the deadliest skin cancer. Watch this video to help you understand melanoma causes, symptoms and treatments.
Transcript: Most people have heard of the skin cancer called melanoma, and each year, 55,000 Americans are diagnosed...
Most people have heard of the skin cancer called melanoma, and each year, 55,000 Americans are diagnosed with it. So what exactly is melanoma? Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer. If it's diagnosed early, melanoma is usually curable, however if the cancer goes unnoticed and spreads, it can be fatal. Here's how melanoma develops. Melanoma begins in skin cells called melanocytes which produce a pigment called melanin, the agent that gives skin its color and protects the body from sun damage. When you spend time in the sun, the melanocytes make more protective melanin, causing your skin to tan. If you receive too much sunlight, however, the melanocytes may begin to mutate and turn cancerous. Individuals with a family history of melanoma are much more likely to develop this form of cancer. Still, everyone is at some risk, so being safe in the sun is imperative. Because melanoma occurs in the cells that give skin its color, this form of cancer usually appears as a spot of darkened pigment, or a mole. The patterns of melanoma are often predictable. In men, it usually appears between the shoulders and hips, and on the head and neck. Women tend to develop melanoma on their lower legs. The best way to spot melanoma is to get to know your skin. Be aware that if you have more than 50 moles, you are a more likely candidate to develop melanoma! ABCDE is an acronym that stands for the five warning signs of melanoma. When examining a mole, be aware that any of these aspects can be indicative of melanoma. 'A' stands for an asymmetrical, or oddly shaped, mole. 'B' is for a mole with uneven borders. 'C' stands for color: A variety of colores with in a mole is a warning signal. 'D' is for a mole with a diameter bigger than a pencil eraser. And 'E' stands for a growth that evolves over time. Melanomas fall into four basic categories. Three of them begin in situ, meaning they occupy only the top layer of skin. The fourth, nodular melanoma, is more serious because it penetrates more quickly into the skin. The first type of in situ cancer, superficial spreading melanoma, accounts for almost 70 percent of cases. This cancer spreads along the top layer of skin for some time before penetrating. Younger people often get the superficial spreading typeLentigo maligna is most often found in the elderly. It's similar to superficial spreading melanoma, as it also remains close to the skin's surface for a long time. Acral lentiginous melanoma is the most common form found in those with darker skin types. It follows the same spreading pattern as the other in situ types, but usually appears under the nails, on the soles of the feet, or on the palms of the hands. The most aggressive form of this disease, nodular melanoma, is inherently invasive. Nodular melanoma makes up 10 to 15 percent of cases. If left untreated, melanoma can be fatal, so it's vital to be familiar with your skin. If you notice any abnormalities, please see a doctor immediately.More »
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Millions of Americans are diagnosed with Melanoma every year. This cancer of the skin's melanocyte can be treated though Watch this video to learn about the options.
Transcript: A diagnosis of the potentially fatal skin cancer known as melanoma can be alarming, but it helps to understand...
A diagnosis of the potentially fatal skin cancer known as melanoma can be alarming, but it helps to understand the options for treating this disease. Melanoma, a cancer of the skin's melanocyte, affects over 60,000 new Americans annually. Melanoma that spreads to the body's vital organs can result in death, but people who are diagnosed and treated early have a 95 percent chance of survival. Before melanoma can be treated, it must be classified. Doctors organize melanoma into four stages, based on the tumor's thickness and its movement throughout the body. The first two stages of melanoma are known collectively as early melanomas. These tumors are not very thick and haven't spread far into the body. If a melanoma tumor has spread to the lymph nodes, the diagnosis is a Stage III or Stage IV melanoma. A stage three melanoma is one that has spread to a lymph node near the tumor site. A stage four melanoma is one that has moved to lymph nodes further away from the tumor, or to the lungs, liver, or brain. Regardless of classification, the first step in treating melanoma is a procedure called excision, which consists of surgically removing a tumor and about of an inch of skin around it. For people with Stage I and Stage II melanoma, excision is often all that is needed to eradicate the cancer. These patients will still need regular follow-up visits with a doctor to ensure that melanoma doesn't return. For patients with a Stage III or Stage IV melanoma, excision may be followed by an additional therapy designed to remove the cancer from any other places where it has spread. One of the most commonly used therapies for advanced melanoma is immunotherapy. Immunotherapy drugs, like interferons and interleukins, are injected into the body to help its immune system destroy cancer cells. Another treatment for advanced melanoma is radiation therapy. This procedure uses high energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. Because radiation therapy is expensive and lengthy, it is usually only used for patients who have stage four melanoma or for patients who are not good surgical candidates.Chemotherapy is a form of melanoma treatment in which a variety of drugs are used to eradicate cancer cells. This procedure is usually performed in cycles to allow a patient to recover from the side effects. People with advanced melanoma on their arms or legs may undergo a type of chemotherapy called isolated limb perfusion. In this treatment, chemotherapy drugs are injected directly into the bloodstream of the affected limb. Research is currently underway to find new treatments for melanoma. Sometimes, patients with advanced melanoma opt to participate in experimental trials to help find new cures. Melanoma can be frightening, but there are a number of treatments to help patients get the care they need. Please talk to your doctor about the treatment that is best for you.More »
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Dodging skin cancer is not impossible. Check out this video to get ten tips for preventing skin cancer.
Transcript: Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, but most cases can be prevented! Here, are ten tips to...
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, but most cases can be prevented! Here, are ten tips to keep you safe in the sun. More than one million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year, and the number is growing. Avoid being one of them with these smart sun tips. Because 90 percent of skin cancers are directly related to exposure to the sun, the best way to stay safe is to avoid spending time outdoors during the most intense hours-from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Don't think that because you tan inside, you're safe from cancer! Ultraviolet radiation can be even more dangerous when it comes from a tanning parlor. Remember: Any tan is your skin's response to damaging rays. Of course, there are times when exposure to sunlight can't be avoided. That's why it's absolutely essential to wear sunscreen every single day, even when it's cloudy. Not all sunscreens are created equal! The sun has two types of ultraviolet radiation, UVA and UVB. UVB rays are the culprit behind sunburn, while UVA rays, which penetrate more deeply, are associated with long-term changes, like wrinkling. For the best protection, pick a sunscreen that blocks both types of ultraviolet rays. The Skin Cancer Foundation's seal of approval can help you choose a highly effective brand. Get the most out of your sunscreen by choosing one with a Sun Protection Factor, or SPF, of 30 or higher. An SPF of 15 blocks 93 percent of the sun's rays, while an SPF of 50 stops 99 percent. Selecting the right sunscreen is only the first step: To get the full SPF, you must apply enough of it! Use 1 ounce of sunscreen, or a shot glass full. Most people apply half that, which means the actual SPF on the body is lower than advertised. Apply sunscreen correctly. Cover your entire body 30 minutes before sun exposure, to allow the ingredients to fully bind to the skin. And Reapply every two hours. Give sunscreen some help by wearing clothing and accessories that block UV rays. A broad-brimmed hat and wrap-around sunglasses protect the often-exposed skin around the eyes, ears, face and neck. Generally, light-colored fabrics do not offer much protection from the sun. A white T-shirt provides an average SPF of 7, while a long-sleeved thick denim shirt has an SPF of 1,700! The easiest way to test how well clothing can protect your skin is to hold it up to the light. If you can see through the fabric, UV radiation can penetrate it - and reach your skin. Be aware of your family's medical history! If your sibling, parent, or child has had melanoma, you are in a "melanoma-prone family" and are 50 percent more likely to develop the disease. Getting checked regularly by a dermatologist is especially important for you. Engaging in these behaviors can help fend off the harmful effects of the sun's rays, and reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.More »
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Skin cancer is often treatable if detected early. Regular skin cancer screening is your best way of staying informed. Learn how to check yourself in this video.
Transcript: Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in America. So how do you know if you have it? While an...
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in America. So how do you know if you have it? While an abnormal growth on the skin might suggest skin cancer, only a surgical procedure called a biopsy can confirm the diagnosis. This is extremely important because with early detection, skin cancer can be almost always be cured! The first step to ensuring that cancer doesn't go undetected is to have your physician or dermatologist examine your skin at least once a year. People with a family history of skin cancer and those who spend excessive time in the sun are more at risk for developing the disease, but anyone can get it-so it's imperative to examine your own skin for warning signs every month. To perform a self-examination, stand in a well lit room. Examine the front of your body thoroughly. It can help to use a blow dryer to ruffle your hair and inspect your scalp. Use a hand mirror to inspect your shoulders, back, buttocks and legs. Finish by examining your hands and nails. While you're examining your skin, look for changes in the appearance of any birthmark, mole or blemish. Also watch out for any new growths. Non-melanoma skin cancers can manifest as sores that don't seem to heal. A brown streak beneath the nail or a waxy scar on the body can also be signs of cancer. And watch out for flat lesions that are hard to the touch or translucent growths with rolled up edges. When performing a self-examination, pay particular attention to any moles on your body. Moles may be indicative of the most serious form of skin cancer, melanoma. If a mole appears to be asymmetrical or multi-colored, if it grows in diameter or has irregular borders, it may be a melanoma.It's not necessarily easy to diagnose skin cancer on your own, so remember to get your skin checked by a dermatologist at least once a year.During your appointment, your dermatologist will examine your skin closely, possibly using a handheld microscope-like device,A biopsy is a fairly simple in-office or outpatient procedure. There are several different ways in which a biopsy can be performed, but in general biopsy involves numbing the suspicious area and removing part-or all-of a lesion for microscope examination. A biopsy is the only way to definitively tell if skin cancer is present called a dermascope. If he thinks that a lesion may be cancerous, he will take a biopsy. A biopsy is a fairly simple in-office or outpatient procedure. There are several different ways in which a biopsy can be performed, but in general biopsy involves numbing the suspicious area and removing part-or all-of a lesion for microscope examination. A biopsy is the only way to definitively tell if skin cancer is presentIf your biopsy shows cancerous cells, your doctor will discuss various treatment options with you. Remember, skin cancer is usually curable if caught early, so stay up to date on the appearance of your skin and see your doctor if you notice any changes.More »
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