One in five Americans develop skin cancer by the age of 70, but how do you know when it’s time to call up your doctor and make an appointment? Here’s what the top skin cancer doctor in California, MD has to say.
What Are the Early Signs of Skin Cancer?
The three most common skin cancers are melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Keep an eye out for these symptoms:
- Hard lesions that increase in size in only weeks
- Lesions that bleed without being wounded or agitated
- Moles that increase in size or change in shape/color
- Moles with poorly defined or odd-shaped borders
- Moles with redness or swelling beyond their borders
- New or unusual spot on your arm that doesn’t resolve itself naturally
- Persistent or recurring pain or itchiness in a certain area of your skin
- Spots that ooze, bleed, crusts, become scaly, or don’t heal
Each type of skin cancer appears with its own unique symptoms. Take the time to check yourself on all areas of the body, including your nails, genitals, palms, soles, and other areas you would typically overlook.
Basal cell carcinoma often presents itself as an open sore that refuses to heal or returns even when it does, a raised red patch that itches, a flat and firm area that resembles a scar or is a pale yellow, a pink growth with a depressed center and raised edges, or a small pink or red bump.
Squamous cell carcinoma takes on many different appearances, presenting as a wart-like growth, a hard lesion, an open sore with raised edges, a rough and red scaly or crusty patch, and a dome or horn-shaped growth.
Melanoma is a particularly scary skin cancer, accounting for most skin cancer-related deaths. Look for the “ABCDE” signs to identify melanoma. These moles often stand out from other moles on the body. These alphabetical signs include:
- (A)symmetry, since moles are typically symmetrical
- (B)orders that are irregularly shaped or poorly defined borders
- (C)hange in colors or contain multiple colors
- (D)iameter measuring more than ¼ inch across
- (E)volution in size, shape, or color
When Is It Time to Call the Doctor for a Skin Evaluation?
If you’re concerned about an area of your skin, then that’s a good enough reason alone to call your doctor and schedule an appointment with them to assess your skin. Heed the warning signs and contact a specialist as soon as possible.
If you notice a symptom that resembles any of the above, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Skin cancers come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. Even the same type of skin cancer can vary in appearance.
Include an annual skin cancer screening as part of your routine, alongside self-assessments in between appointments. Diagnosing skin cancer right away ensures successful treatment, preventing cancer from spreading or worsening.
For example, if caught early, your five-year survival rate with melanoma is 99%. The rate drops to 66% if left untreated and it spreads to your lymph nodes, and 27% if cancer reaches your organs.
Timing is everything when it comes to skin cancer. Establish a bond with your doctor for routine care and preventative measures.
For the Area’s Top Skin Cancer Doctor in California, MD, Choose Mid-Atlantic!
Skin cancer is, no doubt, incredibly scary and confusing. Allow our team at Mid-Atlantic Skin Surgery Institute to help you navigate this stressful time with accurate information and care based on your individual needs. To schedule your appointment with a skin cancer doctor in California, MD today, contact us at 301-396-3401.