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Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. It affects more than 2 million Americans every year. Unchecked, skin cancer can lead to deformities and even death. However, with early detection, skin cancer is one of the easiest cancers to cure, as long as it is diagnosed and treated in a timely manner. That is why it is recommended all patients practice monthly self-exams and have a dermatologist conduct a thorough yearly skin examination in order to detect any possible signs of skin cancer.

Many public awareness campaigns have educated people on the dangers of unprotected sun exposure. However, it’s unavoidable that people forget to apply sun block, tan in the sun, or use to tanning beds. Even fewer people routinely check for warning signs of possible skin cancer, but this preventative measure can greatly decrease the risk of this disease.

There are the “ABCDs” of melanoma, which can be signs of skin cancer. Things to watch out for are:

  1. Asymmetry: Irregular and asymmetrically shaped moles or spots can be characteristics of a melanoma.
  2. Border: Regular moles or birthmarks usually have smooth, even borders. If they turn rough, scalloped, or develop further with undefined borders, this may be a warning sign.
  3. Color: Uneven coloring, shading, or red, blue, or white spots are often signs of skin cancer.
  4. Diameter: If existing spots grow, or new spots form that are larger than 6mm in diameter, they should be checked by a dermatologist.

There are three major types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. The most common kind is basal cell carcinoma, and it is generally found on sun-damaged skin on parts of the head, face, neck, arms, and hands. Unlike melanoma, basal cell carcinoma can only truly be diagnosed by a biopsy. If left untreated, this can spread to the surrounding tissues, organs, and bones, becoming much more serious. Depending upon the case, treatment plans can include surgery, laser therapy, chemical therapy, or many other options that can be discussed during a consultation with our New York dermatologist Dr. Ostad.

Because the best way to prevent skin cancer from spreading or becoming fatal is early detection, it is vital to not only complete monthly self-exams, but also have a dermatologist conduct a more thorough yearly exam. Please contact our office today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ariel Ostad. Not only does he have extensive experience in treating skin cancer in its various phases, but he can also help educate you on warning signs and best practices for skin health and sun safety.