I was an avid sun worshipper in my youth – now I’m worried about the effect of all that time I spent outdoors without any sunscreen. How do I know if the changes I’m seeing in my skin indicate possible skin cancer?
Different types of skin cancer present in a variety of ways. It is important to pay close attention to any changes in your skin. This includes, but is not limited to, unusual growths such as moles or sores. You should also watch for any abnormal skin discoloration. Unusual growths or sores may be pink or skin colored, brown or black or have flecks of any of these colors within them. Abnormal skin conditions may bleed easily, struggle to heal, ooze and crust over.
It is always best to establish yourself with a local dermatologist whom you are comfortable with, so when these situations arise, you know exactly who to see. Regular skin evaluations should be performed based on your history and your dermatologist’s recommendation. A dermatologist will recommend how frequently one should come for their skin exam.
Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers, including melanoma. Applying a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more to all exposed skin is the best way to be sun smart. Broad spectrum provides protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Re-application of sunblock every two hours is crucial to maintain a protection barrier.
Submitted by Dr. Gerstein of Meridian Dermatology