Skin cancer doesn't always cause dramatic changes. In fact, symptoms can be subtle and easily confused with blemishes or minor skin irritations. The dermatologists at Newton Wellesley Dermatology Association in Wellesley, MA, offer screenings and other services and treatments that help you protect your skin.
Should I worry about that spot or mole?
It's not unusual to experience an occasional pimple or patch of red or dry skin from time to time. Unfortunately, blemishes that don't go away after a few weeks can be signs of basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer.
Basal cell skin cancer is the most common form of skin cancer in the United States, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Symptoms include rounded, pimple-like bumps; sores that never heal; or brown, black, red, or pink patches of skin.
If you have squamous cell skin cancer, you may also notice red bumps or patches of red, flaky, or crusty skin. Your risk of developing basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer increases due to sun exposure or use of tanning beds. Although neither type of cancer tends to spread, the cancerous cells can invade the deeper layers of the skin if you don't receive prompt diagnosis and treatment.
A change in a mole can be a sign that you have melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer that can spread throughout your body. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using the "ABCDE" method when evaluating moles. Consider these factors when examining your moles:
- Asymmetry: Do both sides look the same? If one side of the mole doesn't mirror the other half, it's a good idea to contact your Wellesley skin doctor.
- Borders: Rough, irregular, or blurred borders also warrant a call to your dermatologist.
- Color: Healthy moles aren't multi-colored and don't change color.
- Diameter: Moles may be more likely to become cancerous if they're bigger than the eraser at the end of a pencil.
- Evolving: Have you noticed a change in the size, color, or shape of your mole? Does it itch, ooze fluid, or bleed?
Are you concerned about a strange spot or a suspicious mole? Call your dermatologists at Newton Wellesley Dermatology Association in Wellesley, MA, at (781) 237-3500 to schedule an appointment.
Are you wondering whether certain skin changes could be warning you about skin cancer?
Skin cancer can happen to anyone. If you’ve ever had a sunburn at any point in your lifetime (even your childhood) then you are at an increased risk for skin cancer. Furthermore, those with fair skin, light hair and eyes, and people who spend a lot of time outdoors are also more prone to developing skin cancer. Read below to learn what you should look for the next time you perform your own skin exam, and, as always, call our Wellesley Hills, MA, dermatology office if you have any concerns!
Warning Signs of Skin Cancer
There are several different kinds of skin cancer, but most people hear “skin cancer” and think of melanoma, although there are also non-melanoma forms, as well. It’s important that you are looking for both during your self-exams. Here’s what to look for:
Most doctors will tell you to remember your ABCDEs when it comes to detecting melanoma lesions. ABCDE stands for asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolving. A healthy mole will be symmetrical, a single color, have a clearly defined border, and won’t change throughout the years.
It’s time to give us a call if you notice any moles or growths that are,
- Have a poorly defined or ragged border
- Have different colors or shades of color
- Larger than 6 mm (about the size of a pencil eraser)
- Changing (in color, shape or size)
Furthermore, any sores that do not heal, or that itch, crust over, or bleed should also be checked out by a dermatologist.
Even though it’s important to detect melanoma early, you should still be on the lookout for non-melanoma skin cancer, as well. Common signs include,
- Red, scaly raised patches
- A smooth, shiny lump (often pink, red, or white)
- A growth with visible blood vessels
- Flat white or yellow patches that resemble scars
- A recurring sore
Treating Skin Cancer
How our Wellesley Hills, MA, skin doctor decides to treat your skin cancer will depend on several factors, including the location, type, and severity of your skin cancer, and whether the cancer has spread. There are many different kinds of skin cancer treatment options including,
- Excisional surgery
- Mohs surgery (most commonly used)
- Radiation therapy
- Chemotherapy (sometimes topical)
- Photodynamic therapy
- Immunotherapy (sometimes topical)
- Targeted therapy
Are you living in Wellesley Hills, MA, and noticing a new growth or changes in a mole? If so, then it’s best to play it safe and schedule a skin cancer screening with us. Here at Newton Wellesley Dermatology Associates, we are dedicated to providing your entire family with the trustworthy skin care they need to reduce their risk of developing skin cancer during their lifetime. Give us a call at (781) 237-3500!
Worried about that mole? Everyone is at risk of skin cancer and should keep an eye on their skin and moles. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. If it is detected early, it is more easily treatable. Newton Wellesley Dermatology Associates, which is located in Wellesley Hills, MA, offers skin cancer screening and diagnostic services to their patients. Read on to find out when and how you should check yourself for moles.
What is Skin Cancer?
When cancer starts in the skin, it's called skin cancer. There are three major types of skin cancer: squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma. The main cause of skin cancer is overexposure to Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. This is produced by the sun, but it can also come from other sources, such as indoor tanning beds. Other factors may also contribute to your risk of skin cancer, such as having a medical condition that weakens your immune system or being exposed to toxic substances.
When Should I Look for Moles?
Skin cancer can arise at any age but most commonly occurs after puberty. Although the average age of diagnosis is 52, skin cancer is the second most common cancer in individuals aged 15-29. Making a habit of examining your skin on a regular basis will help detect any abnormal growths. Doctors recommend that you conduct a self-exam every month, looking for any new spots and changes to the existing freckles or moles.
How Do I Check Myself for Moles?
Make sure you check your entire body as skin cancers can occur in parts of the body not exposed to the sun. Use a mirror to check areas that are hard to see. When checking your skin, remember to examine the front and back of your body, then right and left with your arms up. Inspect your neck, back, and arms, and look at the backs of your legs and feet as well as in-between your toes and your soles.
When is a Mole Not Just a Mole?
Most benign moles are often a single shade of brown. Melanoma may become red, white or blue or have a number of shades of brown. Benign skin moles have a smooth and even border unlike cancerous moles. The borders of melanoma tend to be uneven and the edges are scalloped or notched. If you have skin moles that have been with you for decades without change, that's usually a sign that you don't need to worry about them. Additionally, if you have moles that look similar to one another, then they are probably benign.
What is a Skin Cancer Screening?
You should have a skin cancer screening every year. During a skin cancer screening, your dermatologist will inspect your skin, head-to-toe, for any potential warning signs. No blood work is conducted at a skin cancer screening. If your doctor sees a suspicious area, he or she will take a biopsy and send it to a pathologist. The pathologist will use a microscope to examine the skin tissue and determine whether it's cancerous or not. Your doctor will talk to you about the results.
Skin cancer can be serious, expensive, and sometimes even deadly. Take charge of your health today! If you need a mole check, call Newton Wellesley Dermatology Associates at 781-237-3500 now to schedule your annual skin cancer screening in Wellesley Hills, MA. A skin cancer screening could save your life!
How your dermatologists in Wellesley Hills can help you get relief from acne
Do you suffer from acne breakouts that happen when you least expect it? Acne is a common, annoying skin condition that can dramatically affect your looks and how you feel about yourself. You can get control of your acne, and your dermatologists at Newton Wellesley Dermatology Associates in Wellesley Hills, MA, want to help.
Acne is caused when bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells block your pores. The blocked pores become inflamed, swollen, and red. Acne can become worse from diet, environmental factors, stress, and other factors.
Acne breakouts can show up in different ways, from small pinpoint blackheads or whiteheads to large, painful pustules and cysts. The good news is there are several effective treatments depending on the level of severity of your acne.
For mild acne, sometimes over-the-counter treatments may be all you need. You should look for products containing benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid.
For moderate to severe acne that doesn’t respond to over-the-counter products, you need the services of an expert. The dermatologists at Newton Wellesley Dermatology Associates will recommend several effective treatments which include:
- Benzoyl peroxide products to reduce blocked pores
- Topical and oral antibiotics to eliminate infection
- Tretinoin medication to unblock pores
- Extraction treatment to remove blackheads and whiteheads completely
For more detailed information about the causes and treatment of acne, please visit the Acne page on the website at https://www.newtonwellesleyderm.com/acne.html
If acne is left untreated, it may leave scars on your skin. Your dermatologists can also treat and dramatically reduce the scarring caused by acne. Some skin treatments to reduce acne scarring include:
- Chemical peels
- Dermal fillers
- Minor skin surgery
- Laser and light treatment
For more information about acne scarring and treatment, please visit the Acne Scars page on the website at https://www.newtonwellesleyderm.com/library/8839/Acnescars.html
You don’t have to suffer from annoying, painful acne! Just pick up your phone and call the dermatologists at Newton Wellesley Dermatology Associates in Wellesley Hills, MA. Start enjoying clearer skin by calling today!
Noticing a rash on your skin, though often an alarming experience, is not always cause for concern. However, a rash can be the sign of an underlying condition or allergy. Learning the signs of a reaction and when a rash could require the help of your dermatologist is important to finding and treating issues early. Find out more about spotting the cause of your rash with Dr. Michael Goldaber, Dr. Elaine Kaye, and Dr. David Aghassi at Newton Wellesley Dermatology Associates in Wellesley Hills, MA.
What causes rashes?
A rash comes from various causes and is simply an inflammation of the skin, not a diagnosis itself. Rashes can be mild or severe and occur anywhere on the body. Some of the most common causes for rashes include:
- Eczema: Eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, often occurs in children and produces a red, irritated, and often weeping rash. Eczema often appears on the elbows, knees, cheeks, neck, and wrists.
- Hives: Hives are the product of an allergic reaction and appear as red welts on the skin.
- Poison Ivy: Poison ivy is a plant that causes a red, itchy rash with skin it comes into contact with.
- Contact Dermatitis: This type of rash comes from coming into contact with an allergen that produces a reaction.
- Heat Rash: Heat rash comes from the sweat glands becoming obstructed, especially in hot and/or humid weather. It appears as red dots on the skin.
When should I see my dermatologist about my rash?
If you experience a rash, more of then than not, it will resolve itself within a few days and go away without medical intervention. However, if you have a rash which spans your entire body or is accompanied by a fever, or the rash appears suddenly and spreads rapidly, you should see your doctor as soon as possible. You should also see your doctor if the rash becomes painful, begins to blister, or becomes infected. In severe situations, seek immediate medical attention at an emergency facility.
Rash Treatments in Wellesley Hills, MA
For more information on rashes and their treatments, please contact Dr. Michael Goldaber, Dr. Elaine Kaye, and Dr. David Aghassi at Newton Wellesley Dermatology Associates in Wellesley Hills, MA. Call (781) 237-3500 to schedule your appointment with your Wellesley Hills dermatologist today!
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