The American Cancer Society reports that skin cancer is the most common type of malignancy. Fortunately, a routine skin exam can catch suspicious spots, bumps and lumps before they advance. At Newton Wellesley Dermatology Associates, your four board-certified dermatologists can show you ways to examine your skin at home, and they recommend routine in-office check-ups, too.
When should you receive a skin examination?
Newton Wellesley Dermatology Associates recommends annual skin examinations for everyone age 40 and up. The rationale is simple: your dermatologist possesses expertise in exactly what those freckles, spots and bumps on your skin may mean. Also, he or she can biopsy, or analyze, suspicious lesions right away, and as needed, start you on the latest treatments.
Plus, your Wellesley dermatologist advises at-home skin examinations for all adults. These simple, monthly body checks help you to know your skin well and to detect changes quickly so you can report them to your physician.
The American Cancer Society emphasizes the importance of skin examinations. Early detection means early cure, even for the most deadly of skin cancers such as malignant melanoma.
How to perform a skin examination
The best time to perform a skin exam at home is after you shower or whenever you have sufficient time to do a thorough check--front to back, head to toe. Simply stand in front of a full length mirror and note all areas of your skin, focusing on the overall color, texture and appearance of freckles, spots and moles.
Be sure to check hidden areas of your body such as between the toes, bottoms of your feet, scalp, and back. Use a handheld mirror as needed, and enlist the help of a spouse or family member to assess what you cannot see yourself.
Changes in color, shapes, size, and texture are important. A sore which does not heal within a week to 10 days, or begins to bleed, hurt, itch or ooze, must be reported to your dermatologist for further analysis.
When you have a question...
If a spot or bump on your skin concerns you, please contact Newton Wellesley Dermatology Associates. Our professional team is highly experienced and credentialed in evaluating and treating all kinds of skin conditions, including skin cancer. Also, they can teach you ways to assess your skin properly and how to keep it at its healthiest.
The office opens at 7 am weekdays for your convenience. Call us today for an appointment in Wellesley, MA. Get that skin examination done! Phone (781) 237-3500.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer to affect adults in the U.S. Luckily, many methods are available for treating skin cancer, especially when the disease is caught early. If you are concerned that you may have the condition, the dermatologists at Newton Wellesley Dermatology Associates in Wellesley Hills, MA, are your doctors for the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer!
What are the different types of skin cancer?
There are several kinds of skin cancer. The two most common types among adults in the U.S. are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Both types are highly treatable when caught early. Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer, but it is also the rarest.
How can skin cancer risk be reduced?
Sun exposure can increase your risk for skin cancer, particularly if you have sustained sunburns. Using sunscreen with a high SPF and limiting your skin’s exposure to the sun can reduce your risk for skin cancer. Another way to reduce skin cancer risk is to avoid using tanning beds.
What are the signs of skin cancer?
The presence of skin cancer often produces changes in the appearance and texture of the skin, especially where moles are present. Such changes in the skin can be detected early by examining your skin regularly and by scheduling annual skin cancer screenings with a dermatologist. Some signs of the possible presence of skin cancer include:
- Changes in the color, size, or shape of moles
- The development of new moles on the skin
- Sudden itching or bleeding of moles
- Speckled brown spots on the skin
- Patches of red or pink scaly lesions on the skin
- Translucent, waxy cone-shaped growths on the skin
- Black or brown streaks under the fingernails or toenails
What treatments are there for skin cancer?
There are several options available at our Wellesley office for treating skin cancer in. Some of these treatments include:
- Surgical excision—Tumor is surgically removed from the skin.
- Radiation therapy—Radiation is used to target and kill cancer skills.
- Cryosurgery—Tumor is frozen off using liquid nitrogen.
- Mohs micrographic surgery—Areas of skin affected by cancer are mapped to minimize the removal of healthy skin.
- Curettage and desiccation—Tumor is scraped out and an electric current is applied to the area to kill off any remaining cancer cells
- Prescription medicated creams—Creams are applied to the skin in order to help stimulate the body’s immune system to target the cancer cells.
Annual skin cancer screenings with a dermatologist can help with the early detection of skin cancer, an action that helps maximize treatment success. For annual screenings, diagnosis, and treatment of skin cancer in Wellesley, MA, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at Newton Wellesley Dermatology Associates by calling (781) 237-3500 today!
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!
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