Sunny days are definitely an advantage to living in the Phoenix area. When the sky is blue and the sun is shining, it’s only natural to want to spend more time outdoors. Unfortunately, increased sun exposure also means a higher skin cancer risk. Our Phoenix, AZ, dermatologist, Dr. Tamela Tripp of North Mountain Dermatology, knows how skin cancer screenings can help you protect your skin.
What are the signs of skin cancer?
Skin cancer signs vary depending on the type of cancer. Basal cell carcinomas can easily be confused with pimples, although these red, rounded bumps never go away. Cancer can also appear as a brown, red, black, or pink spot on your skin.
Squamous cell carcinoma may cause a red bump or areas of flaky skin that eventually become open sores. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer affects your moles. Warning signs of melanoma include pain, oozing, color changes, oozing, or itching in a mole or the appearance of a new mole. Moles that are larger than a pencil eraser are more likely to be cancerous, as are moles with blurred or irregular edges.
How can skin cancer screenings help me?
Skin cancer screenings can help you and your dermatologist spot changes in your skin that may indicate that you have skin cancer. As with other types of cancer, early detection is the key to successful treatment. Because skin cancer treatment involves removing the affected area of your skin, receiving an early diagnosis may mean that only a small, shallow section of your skin will need to be removed to eradicate your cancer.
At least once a month, remove your clothes and carefully examine your skin for changes. Mirrors can be used to view hard-to-see parts of the body, or you can ask a family member for help. If you do notice any unusual spots or changes to your moles, call our Phoenix office to schedule an appointment.
Yearly professional skin cancer screenings, in addition to home screenings, are very important. During your self-exam, you may miss a change, or you might not realize that a darker patch of skin is actually a sign of skin cancer. Regular screenings are particularly important if you work outdoors or spend long periods of time in the sun, use tanning beds or have had skin cancer in the past.
Has it been too long since your last skin cancer screening? Call our Phoenix, AZ, dermatologist, Dr. Tripp of North Mountain Dermatology, at (602) 944-4628 to schedule an appointment.