Your skin is your largest and most exposed organ, so it’s important that you protect it. If you have any suspicious moles or skin growths causing you concern, we can help you be proactive and take steps to check for skin cancer. Doing so can be the difference between living cancer-free and developing skin cancer. At Prizant Dermatology in Pittsburgh, PA, we offer a skin cancer screening that will help you take proactive and preventative steps to avoid skin cancer.
How Does a Skin Cancer Screening Work?
A skin cancer screening takes place here at our office. Once you schedule your appointment and arrive at our office, one of our qualified team members will meet you in a treatment room to examine the surface of your skin. This is typically a head-to-toe exam to check your skin for abnormal growth, moles, or suspicious spots. During this exam, you can point out any irregularities or areas that you are concerned about, and our expert will carefully evaluate each area.
For example, if you’ve noticed a new mole or any of your pre-existing moles have experienced any significant changes, we can examine them to confirm whether they are benign or need further evaluation. We will examine each of your moles and any irregularities on your skin’s surface. If we do notice any abnormalities, we will discuss them with you and then take the necessary steps to address those irregularities to prevent them from becoming a health risk.
How Often Should I Schedule Skin Cancer Screenings?
We typically advise patients to schedule skin cancer screenings once a year. Those who have a family history of skin cancer or any other conditions that deem them as high risk for skin cancer should schedule screenings more often. When you come in for your appointment, we can review your medical history and your areas of concern to help you determine the best treatment plan and how and when you should schedule your screenings.
The benefit of scheduling regular screenings is that you won’t have to live with the fear or anxiety when you see a new mole, skin growth, or irregularity on your skin. You will have someone trained and qualified to examine your skin to ensure that it is healthy and that you are not at risk for skin cancer.
When Should I Schedule a Screening?
We recommend that patients begin scheduling skin cancer screenings starting at age 18.
What If My Mole or Skin Growth Appears Cancerous?
During your screening, one of our professionals will evaluate your moles, skin growths, or any other spots on your skin to make sure your skin is healthy and that you are risk-free. If anything looks suspicious, we will take steps to have the spot further evaluated or removed.
Steps to Prevent Skin Cancer
There are some steps that you can take to help prevent skin cancer. All it takes is daily diligence and discipline, and you can protect your skin and help it stay healthy and free from sun damage.
Schedule an Annual Skin Cancer Screening
Most of the changes in the skin that lead to skin cancer result from sun damage, but not all of them. Sometimes the suspicious or precancerous skin growths that form on the body aren’t always tied to sun exposure. That’s the importance of scheduling an annual skin cancer screening exam.
This appointment will help give you peace of mind each year as you spend time with an expert who can alert you of any questionable growths or changes in your moles that require further evaluation.
Wear Sunscreen Daily
One of the easiest ways to help protect your skin from sun damage and skin cancer is to wear sunscreen daily, regardless of the weather. Any exposed skin should be protected with an SPF. There are some areas of the body that many people don’t take into account, including the ears, the tops of the head for those who don’t have hair, and the back of the neck.
As a general rule of thumb, apply sunscreen to each area of your body exposed to the sun, even when it’s cloudy. It takes discipline and time to apply sunscreen daily, but doing so will help improve the quality of your skin and help protect it from sun damage and skin cancer.
Choosing the Right Body and Facial Sunscreen
Finding a body lotion with SPF is one of the easiest ways to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Some sunscreens can feel thick and sticky and don’t absorb well. However, some body lotions contain an SPF and have a smooth and easily absorbable texture.
Choosing an SPF for your face is easy because so many high-quality professional-grade skincare lines have designed products with SPF that blend well with the skin. Some are even tinted and can be worn in place of foundation to give your skin a healthy glow. From powders to face creams to concealers and foundations, you can find SPF in almost every product for your face. You just have to look.
Checking Your Moles
Moles are very common. They can appear anywhere, and most are benign, but some are not. It’s important that you watch your moles carefully and take note of any changes. Doing so can make you aware of changes in those moles, so if something looks abnormal, you can seek treatment to have that mole evaluated.
There are some signs you should be aware of when checking your moles. If you notice changes, you should schedule an appointment to have your skin evaluated so that you can stay healthy and maintain cancer-free skin.
The ABCDE Rule
The ABCDE rule is an easy way to help evaluate your moles to check for melanoma. This acronym stands for asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolution. Each of these descriptions enables you to know what to look for when checking your moles so that you can seek out treatment if you need to have a mole further evaluated by one of our experts.
Cancerous moles are often asymmetrical, meaning their shape is not uniform. Benign moles have a uniform shape, but those that could indicate melanoma do not. If any of your moles are asymmetrical, you should watch them carefully and schedule an appointment to have one of our specialists evaluate them in person.
Moles without a definitive border can often be a sign of melanoma. Benign moles typically have a defined border. Watch your moles or any new skin growths to see if they have a regular and defined border, and if you notice any irregularities, schedule an appointment.
Moles that indicate melanoma often have more than one color. Benign moles are uniform in color.
The diameter of your moles is another characteristic that you need to take into account. Normal moles should have a similar diameter to a pencil eraser.
Moles can change over time due to hormonal changes or other factors, but sometimes significant changes are not normal. If you’ve noticed some notable changes in the size, shape, or appearance of your moles, or they have begun to itch, bleed, or cause you pain, you should schedule a skin cancer screening to have them evaluated. Doing so will give you peace of mind about that mole and help you find out more information so you can take the next steps if necessary.
Schedule Your Screening Today
If it’s been too long since your last screening, or you’ve never scheduled a screening before to have your moles and your skin evaluated by a professional, now is the time. Scheduling this screening can give you peace of mind about your skin, help you be proactive with your health, and take the necessary preventative steps to help avoid or detect skin cancer. Contact us today at Prizant Dermatology in Pittsburgh, PA, to schedule your screening appointment.