You should be on the lookout for all three of the major types of skin cancer, but one is by far the most dangerous. Melanoma starts on the surface of your skin, but it can quickly spread. Melanomas can develop anywhere on your body, meaning regular, thorough scans provide one of the best ways of catching this skin cancer early, when treatment is least invasive and most effective.
As a skin cancer specialist, Adaobi Obasi, MD, can check you for melanomas here at Cutis Wellness Dermatology & Dermatopathology in Laredo, Texas. And if she does discover any, we can get you started with treatment right away to prevent the cancer’s spread.
We also want to help you check for melanoma at home. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to do just that. Many leading organizations, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AAD), recommend the same guide for spotting melanoma: the ABCDEs.
Look for any dark spots on your skin. Moles and pigmented patches should be symmetrical, meaning you could fold them in half and the edges would line up. If the spot is asymmetrical, it could be a melanoma.
Similarly, look at the edges of the spot. If they’re not smooth, it may not be a normal mole or area with hyperpigmentation. Scalloped borders are a warning sign. And if the border isn’t clearly defined all the way around (meaning some areas are darker than others), the spot could be cancerous.
Normal spots on your skin develop uniformly in color. If your spot has different colored patches in it, especially if part of it is blue or red, make sure to get the area checked by Dr. Obasi.
Smaller spots warrant a smaller amount of concern. As the pigmented area grows, so does the need to get it evaluated by a skin cancer specialist. Specifically, if the spot gets bigger than the width of a pencil eraser, it’s time to make an appointment.
One of the major markers of a melanoma is that it continues to change as the cancer develops. If your mole or darker spot changes in shape, size, or color, Dr. Obasi should definitely take a look at it.
The good news is that when caught early, melanoma is very treatable. Usually, it just means removing the spot from your skin, an outpatient procedure Dr. Obasi can perform with local anesthetic.
If you spot any of these ABCDE warning signs on your skin, don’t wait to make an appointment. To have your skin evaluated and any potential melanomas removed, call our office at Cutis Wellness Dermatology & Dermatopathology or schedule your appointment online today.