Each year, more than 3 million people in the United States are affected by skin cancer. While these numbers may come as a surprise, there are many things you can do to prevent from becoming part of the statistic. There are also many ways you can notice warning signs and ensure early diagnosis.
Definition of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells and it typically occurs when the DNA of a cell is damaged or mutated. This damage can be the result of sun damage or simply genes, but regardless of the cause, the mutated cells tend to multiply quickly making it important that you have skin cancer checks regularly.
The three most common types of skin cancer are:
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Malignant melanoma
Skin cancers are highly treatable if found early, so it is vital that you not only take steps to prevent them, but to have regular skin checks, as well.
There are a few categories of people that have a higher risk of getting skin cancer, and it is recommended that if you belong to these groups you get screened for skin cancer at least once a year. These groups include:
- If you’ve had a close relative who has had melanoma
- You’ve had a personal history of precancerous cells or skin cancers
Doctors also recommend that you perform regular checks on your own skin to ensure that you notice if anything changes or looks concerning. By familiarizing yourself with moles, lumps, and lesions on your body, you will be able to tell if they have changed size, shape, or color.
As long as you don’t notice any new moles, sores, lumps, or lesions, most people can wait until they are 30 or so to have their first skin check. However, if you suspect any changes, or belong to a high-risk category, you should contact your doctor or dermatologist right away.
To learn more about skin cancer screenings, or to schedule your consultation, please fill out the form on this page or call Levy Dermatology, located in Memphis and Collierville, at 901–624–3333. We look forward to working with you!