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5 Tips for Identifying Skin Cancer

1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lifetime. This alarming statistic shows how important it is that you know the 5 common signs and symptoms of skin cancer. Below, we’ll discuss the ABCDE’s for identifying skin cancer. In addition, you should see a dermatologist every year for a full body skin exam to check your moles.

1. Asymmetry 

Benign moles, or non-cancerous moles, are symmetrical. This means you can draw a line down the middle of it and both halves would look the same. On the other hand, most melanomas are asymmetrical. If you have a mole that looks asymmetrical, it is best to see a board-certified dermatologist for a mole check.

2. Borders 

The edges of non-cancerous moles are usually smooth and even. If you’ve noticed that the borders of a lesion are notched or scalloped, it’s essential to get it checked out as soon as possible. 

3. Color

Your lesions should be one color. If you notice one that is a variety of shades of a certain color such as brown, red, white, or blue, that’s not a good sign as it may indicate you have skin cancer.

4. Diameter

Non-cancerous lesions are usually small in size. If you have a larger one, it may be cancerous. Moles that are larger than 6 mm or the width of a pencil eraser are concerning. 

5. Evolving

You shouldn’t notice any significant changes in your moles over time. If your mole has changed in size or color, it could be skin cancer. If you notice a drastic change in the color, texture, size, or shape of your lesion, make an appointment with a dermatologist.

What are the treatments for skin cancer?

At ZENA Medical, we perform Mohs Micrographic Surgery to remove skin cancer. Mohs Micrographic surgery is considered the most effective technique for treating many basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) and squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs), the two most common types of skin cancer. 

Mohs surgery is an outpatient procedure where the dermatologist will remove parts of the tumor that are visible without a microscope. Then, they will make sure that all of the cancer cells have been removed by evaluating the tissue under a microscope. The procedure is done in stages until all cancerous tissue is removed.  

When melanoma is diagnosed by skin biopsy, more surgery will be needed to help make sure the cancer has been removed completely. A wide excision technique is commonly used to remove a melanoma. The recommended margins vary depending on the thickness of the tumor. Thicker tumors need larger margins (both at the edges and in the depth of the excision). Be sure to discuss the options with a dermatologist.

Take the Next Step

If you’d like to learn more about how to identify skin cancer or are seeking skin cancer treatment we encourage you to schedule a private consultation with your personal assessment at ZENA Medical in Newport Beach, California today. Call us at (949) 200-8222 or fill out our convenient online contact form. We look forward to meeting you!

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