Agoura dermatologist discusses the signs of skin cancer
Every year, the number of patients diagnosed with skin cancer rises. Skin cancer is a serious condition that is most often caused by lack of skin care and overexposure to UV rays through habits such as outdoor or indoor tanning. Luckily, innovations in dermatological care have allowed us to more easily identify skin cancer and begin treatment early, when it is most effective. For patients in the Agoura area, knowing the signs of skin cancer is an important component to keeping your skin safe and healthy.
Any skin growth that appears troubling should be evaluated as soon as possible by doctor. The single best indicator of skin cancer is a change in the skin. This could be a change in the size, color, or shape of an existing mole, a wound that will not heal, or an unusual lesion or tag that seems concerning.
During your annual skin check, Dr. Panagotacos will evaluate the skin and investigate any areas of concerns, but it’s also important to perform monthly at-home skin checks. All it takes is five minutes, and in that time, you could help dramatically improve your prognosis if there is cancer present.
To perform your at-home skin check you will need good lighting, a full length (dressing) mirror, and a small handheld mirror. Start with your face, making sure to examine all around the mouth, lips, nose, and ears. Your small mirror will help you get a clear view in tough to see places.
Next, inspect your scalp, moving the hair around to get a clear view of each area. You may need to have someone help you with this part.
Moving on, you will want to carefully check the hands, between the fingers, and even the fingernails. Examine all around the front, back, and underneath your arms.
After you are done with your arms, put your back to the dressing mirror and use the smaller mirror to check your neck, shoulders, and upper back. You can then move the mirror down to check the lower back, buttocks, and back of both legs. Don’t forget to examine the bottom of the feet and heels.
Knowing the signs of skin cancer can help save your life. If you are in the Agoura Hills area and would like more information, contact us today.