Publish 11 March 2021
By Kevin RR Williams
It’s Only a Mole, Right?
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month
Many women cherish a facial beauty mole. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends annual full-body examinations for new moles or unexplained blemishes. A dermatologist or family member may examine you. With a mirror, you can also do it yourself. What types of moles (nevi) warrant further investigation by a medical dermatology professional?
Moles in themselves are not harmful. Most are congenital. Acquired moles (or common moles) can appear on your skin after you’re born. New moles may appear during hormone level changes or pregnancy.
If moles grow, change color, or become irregular, they might be precancerous. Hence, new moles are something you should bring to the attention of your doctor and keep under observation. Measure the diameter and take pictures while logging changes over time.
Skin Cancer Stages
Five Roman numerals (0 through IV) divide melanoma is divided into stages. Up to four letters (A through D), indicate a higher risk within each stage. Progression is slow and it appears innocuous at first. During stage 0 (in situ), a small spot within the epidermis that resembles a mole may be all you see. Within stage I (localized tumor), the tumor grows deeper through the epidermis. At stage II (localized tumor), the cancer breaches the dermis with a visible ulceration.
As is the case with all cancers, early evaluation has better outcomes. But many people either do not notice new moles or minimize the seriousness. During stage III (regional spread), the cancer infiltrates to the lymph nodes. In stage IV (metastasis), it spreads to other organs.
More than 60% of all stage IV melanoma patients will develop brain metastases at some point. People may think of skin cancer as a disease that causes a nasty scar. Without intervention, you can die of skin cancer.
- Skin cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the skin.
- Different types of cancer start in the skin.
- Skin color and sunlight exposure can increase the risk of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.
- Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma of the skin, and actinic keratosis often appear as a change in the skin.
- Tests or procedures can examine the skin to diagnose basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
More. Beneath The Surface
Since skin cancer begins on the surface, it should be easier to detect and treat than visceral cancers. Often people conceal skin cancers with makeup, scarves, or clothing, as they do with minor skin eruptions. They bring it to the attention of physicians when it is deep and malignant.
If you have access to telemedicine or a medical email portal, upload good quality digital photos for evaluation. Depending on the stage, you may receive a referral to either a dermatology or oncology professional. The popular Understanding Skin Cancer anatomy poster is available on this website for more details.
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