Dermatology for Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is one of the easiest cancers to identify and find. This is due to the fact that skin cancer typically starts where it is visible. From your scalp to the base of your feet, you can get skin cancer anywhere. It is even possible for skin cancer to develop in areas which are exposed to very little sun.
It is also possible to get skin cancer in locations which may be surprising. Skin cancer can start below a fingernail, in the genital region, inside the mouth, or even on your lips.
The best method for finding skin cancer is to perform a self-examination. When you check, be sure to look at all the spots on your skin. It is important to check everywhere and be thorough. This includes parting your hair to check the scalp, spaces between your toes and the underside of your feet. When possible, it is helpful to have a friend, family member or partner check the hard to see areas. They can help examine areas like your scalp and back.
Following a regular practice of checking your skin will aids in noticing any changes. Checking monthly, as an example, can be a beneficial routine. For people who have had skin cancer, your dermatologist can advise on the frequency you should check your skin.
Skin cancer can appear on the body in various ways. Some of the common signs of skin cancer include:
- Changing mole or one which differs from other moles
- Growth which is dome-shaped
- Scaly patch
- Sores which do not heal or a sore that heals and then returns
- A brownish or blackish streak under a nail
Don’t stress about remembering everything about skin cancer on your body. Dermatologists suggest scheduling an appointment if you notice a spot on your skin that meets any of the following criteria:
- Different than others
Most people who notice a suspicious spot feel perfectly fine. They do not have any pain or feel ill. The only change they notice is a spot which looks off or suspicious. The spot does not have to meet all the criteria above, although sometimes it does.
If you identify a spot on your skin that could potentially be skin cancer, don’t hesitate and schedule an appointment with your dermatologist. When skin cancer is identified early, the treatment has a high success rate. Dermatologists can often treat early skin cancer through removing the cancer and some of the skin around it. When the skin cancer has time to grow, it can be more difficult to treat.
Diagnosis and Biopsy
When you identify a suspicious spot that may be skin cancer, the dermatologist will examine the spot. If the spot looks like it could be cancerous, the dermatologist will remove a portion or all of the spot. The dermatologist can easily perform this during the appointment. The procedure used to remove a spot on the skin is called a skin biopsy. Having a skin biopsy is crucial as it is the only way to determine if you have skin cancer.
The skin biopsy will then be evaluated under a microscope. The dermatologist will look for cancer cells. If cancer cells are detected, the biopsy report will explain what type of skin cancer cells were identified. In the event that cancer cells are not found, the biopsy report will explain what was seen under the microscope.
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