As the weather gets warmer and trips to the pool and beach become more frequent, many peoples’ priorities are fun in the sun. In all the excitement, the sun’s harmful rays may be the last thing on your mind. However, protecting your skin this summer is crucial to your health and the prevention of skin cancer. Learn more about identifying skin cancer with help from your Daytona Beach, FL dermatologist at Heller Dermatology Center.
Identifying Irregular Moles
If caught early, skin cancer is a treatable condition with a high cure rate. However, learning to identify irregular moles is crucial to cancer treatments’ success. Potentially cancerous moles have certain qualities which make them different from normal moles. If you have a mole with one or more irregular features, you should schedule an appointment with your Daytona Beach dermatologist as soon as possible. To make identifying abnormal moles easier, follow the ABCDEs:
- Asymmetry: Normal moles are round or ovular in shape. Moles which do not follow these general shapes may be cause for concern.
- Border: A normal mole has a smooth border. Your dermatologist should examine moles which have jagged or irregular borders.
- Color: Moles which are very dark brown or black or which have more than one color within their border could be cancerous.
- Diameter: Most benign moles are smaller than the size of a pencil eraser. As a rule of thumb, moles should be no more than 6 millimeters in diameter.
- Evolving: Benign moles normally do not change shape or color. Moles which appear to evolve, especially over a short period of time, are a sign of skin cancer.
Preventing Skin Cancer
Warmer weather usually means more exposed skin. However, taking the proper steps to protect your skin is key in preventing skin cancer. Always use a broad-spectrum sunblock with at least 30 SPF on any exposed skin. Try to avoid the sun’s rays when they are strongest during the middle part of the day. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun’s rays off the face, UV-blocking sunglasses, and try to wear darkly-colored, tightly-stitched clothing. Additionally, be sure to see your dermatologist for regular skin examinations.
Have I always had this mole?
Most cases of skin cancer present themselves as a new growth. If you have a new mole on your skin, it could be skin cancer. It is better to be safe than sorry, so if you question a mole’s appearance or notice a new mole, you should schedule an examination with your doctor.
For more information on spotting abnormal moles, please contact Dr. Jeffrey J. Heller at Heller Dermatology Center in Daytona Beach, FL. Call (386) 239-8700 to speak with an associate about scheduling your examination today!