Being a fair skinned, freckled individual living in sunny Hawaii, I often think about how my skin type is the most common to develop skin cancer. I have had more sunburns than I can remember as we practically lived at the beach growing up. I try to keep a watch on my skin, so I went to the dermatologist this morning because I have three spots on my right forearm that have been worrying me. They are a different texture than the rest of my skin and really dry.
Well, turned out they were all pre-cancerous sun damage! The dermatologist also found a spot on the back of my ankle that I had never even noticed. So, she used nitrogen to burn off the three spots on my arm…ouch! Apparently when you burn/freeze them off, after the scab falls off normal skin cells will replace the abnormal cells. The spot on my ankle was a very dark freckle (almost black), so she cut that one off to be biopsied. I now have to get a skin check either every six months (if the biopsy is abnormal) or every year.
Also, the derm. recommended that I start using a UV umbrella during the daytime because I told her that I only put sunscreen on my face and neck everyday. I knew that I should wear sunscreen on my arms every day, but I don’t cause I don’t like how it feels. I think that the new UV umbrellas are a great option since I can just keep it in my bag. I ordered one for about $35, which is actually cheaper in the long run than buying sunscreen all the time. This is what they look like:
I am so glad that I went in to get a check before it was any worse!
I really recommend checking your skin and keeping an eye out for any changes. For your back have someone check you or use two mirrors to check. As a massage therapist I have spotted areas that looked suspicious on clients that they had never even noticed.
This is the ABCDs of skin checks:
The ABCD rule is a guide to the usual signs of skin cancer. Tell your doctor about any spots that match the following description:
A is for ASYMMETRY: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.
B is for BORDER: Normal spots have smooth edges. Cancerous spots may have irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred edges.
C is for COLOR: The color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black or sometimes with patches of red, white, or blue.
D is for DIAMETER: Normal spots are about the size of a pencil end-about 1/4 inch- anything larger is worrisome.
E is for Elevated: Having a spot above skin level is another warning sign.
Any change in size, shape or color of a mole or the appearance of a new spot should be check by a doctor.
Some melanomas, the deadliest form of skin cancer, do not fit the ABCD rule described above, so it is very important for you to notice changes in skin markings or new spots on your skin.
Other warning signs are:
·a sore that does not heal
·a new growth
·spread of pigment from the border of a spot to surrounding skin
·redness or a new swelling beyond the border
·change in sensation — itchiness, tenderness, or pain
·change in the surface of a mole — scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or the appearance of a bump or nodule
via The ABCDE’S Of Skin Cancer: How To Spot A Suspicious Mole – Health News Story – WPXI Pittsburgh.