Taking care of yourself includes a whole lot more than just getting enough sleep, reducing stress, and maintaining a healthy diet. While those things are important, other things are equally crucial to your health and longevity. Your skin is the largest organ of your body, so taking proper care of your skin is essential. It is common to have freckles and a few moles on the skin as these are benign skin discolorations – meaning they are non-cancerous and pose no threat to your health. However, knowing how to identify a spot on your skin that is suspicious can save your life.
Skin cancer is a dangerous disease that affects millions of people worldwide every year. The sun’s UV rays can cause damage to areas of the body that receive a lot of sun exposure. This is why it is so important to wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day of the year – yes, even in winter and on rainy days.
What Makes a Spot Suspicious?
If you notice a spot on your skin that is different from others around it or is different from it used to be, you need to consider it suspicious. Making an appointment with your dermatologist needs to be the first thing you do because early detection of skin cancer can mean the difference between life and death.
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, most often occurring on the legs of women and the face, neck, head, back, and chest of men.
Dermatologists have created a simple “ABCDE” method to help people identify suspicious spots on their skin. If any of these apply to a spot on your skin, see your doctor right away.
A: asymmetrical – Moles on the skin should be symmetrical. This means that you should be able to draw a line down the middle of the mole and both sides are almost identical. Cancerous moles are typically asymmetrical, where one half of the mole looks very different from the other half.
B: border – Health moles should have smooth and even borders. If a mole on your skin has a ragged, raised, or notched edge, it may indicate cancer.
C: change in color – Most freckles and moles are light to dark brown in color. Regardless of the shade of brown, your freckles and moles should be uniform in color. If there is a dramatic color variation in a single spot, or if a spot changes color, it may be an indication of cancer. You also need to keep an eye out for spots in shades of red, blue, and black.
D: diameter – Moles and freckles are usually quite small. Any spot on your skin that is larger than 6 millimeters may indicate a cancerous lesion.
E: evolving – Changing moles or the appearance of new spots on the skin as an adult can be a sign of cancer. Pay attention to any moles or spots that evolve in size, shape, color, or texture.
Medical Dermatology Specialists in Atlanta is a trusted medical dermatology practice. Dr. Jamie Weisman and her staff offer skin cancer screening to help patients detect any skin abnormalities. Skin cancer is a serious illness that can be fatal. If you have any suspicious spots on your skin, please contact our practice to schedule an appointment.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Jamie Weisman, Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.
Medical Dermatology Specialists, Inc.
5730 Glenridge Dr, Suite T-100
Atlanta, GA 30328
Monday – Thursday 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM