Know how to spot skin cancer!
When was the last time you gave your body a thorough self-exam to check your moles? If you’ve never done this before it’s important that you start. After all, moles can show us when they are turning cancerous, but we have to be looking for these changes. Along with visiting our Honolulu, HI, dermatologists Dr. Kevin Dawson, Dr. Douglas Chun, Dr. Erin Fuller, and Dr. Sarah Grekin once a year for a comprehensive skin cancer screening, it’s also important that you are performing screenings on yourself once a month.
Moles Stay the Same Overtime
Healthy moles will stay relatively the same color, shape, and size over time. So, if you notice a mole suddenly changing colors, growing larger, or changing in appearance then it’s important that you see our Honolulu, HI, dermatologists for an immediate evaluation.
Know the Red Flags
Wondering what the signs and symptoms of skin cancer will look like? It’s important that you, or a loved one, be able to spot these changes in a mole so that you can come in right away and get this problem addressed by a qualified dermatologist. When it comes to spotting melanoma it’s important to know your ABCDEs…
A for Asymmetry
Both halves of a healthy mole will look identical in shape and size, so an asymmetrical mole could be a telltale sign of melanoma
B for Border
A healthy mole has a clearly defined border, but cancerous growths tend to have jagged or poorly defined borders
C for Color
Moles can be various shades of brown, however, if you notice a mole that is changing color or developing multiple colors it’s time to see the dermatologist
D for Diameter
Most healthy moles are smaller than the size of a pencil eraser, while cancerous moles tend to be, but aren’t always, larger than 6mm
E for Evolving
If you have a mole that bleeds, oozes, crusts over, is painful, or just looks different it’s worth seeing a skin doctor find out if the mole could be cancerous
Protect Against Skin Cancer
Along with visiting your dermatologist once a year and performing monthly self-exams on your skin, you can also reduce your risk for skin cancer by simply limiting exposure to sunlight and by wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 every day. Even on cloudy, rainy, or chilly days!
Do you want to schedule a skin cancer screening with our Honolulu, HI, dermatologists? If so, simply call Dawson Dermatology at (808) 599-3780 to book your next appointment with us. Protect your health by getting regular skin cancer checkups with our dermatology team.
Remember Your ABCDEs
This easy-to-remember acronym will help you spot those signs of skin cancer whenever you examine moles yourself. This is what it stands for,
- A is for asymmetry: A healthy mole will be perfectly circular and symmetrical. If you find that half of the mole is shaped differently from the other half, this could be a sign of pre-cancerous growth.
- B is for a border: A healthy mole will have a clearly defined border. If the mole has a jagged or an even or poorly defined border, it’s time to visit your dermatologist.
- C is for color: A healthy mole will remain a singular color throughout your life. If the mole changes color or develops multiple colors this could be a sign of skin cancer.
- D is for diameter: A healthy mole is typically smaller than a pencil eraser (under 5mm). Moles over 5mm, or larger than a pencil eraser, may be cause for concern. Large moles warrant seeing a dermatologist.
- E is for evolving: A healthy mole will remain the same over the course of your lifetime. So, if you notice it changing at all then it’s worth having a dermatologist look at it.
Along with remembering your ABCDEs, it’s also a good idea to look for,
- New moles: Just because you develop a new mole doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s cancerous; however, if you start noticing any new moles developing past the age of 20 (particularly on the face, neck, shoulder, or other sun-exposed areas), this warrants an evaluation with a skincare professional.
- Troublesome moles: Do you have a mole that bleeds, itches, crusts over, or is painful or tender? If so, the mole should be checked out.
- Sores in the mouth and nose (mucous membrane sores)
- Hair loss, sometimes caused by discoid lesions
- Purple spots (due to broken blood vessels) on the legs
Cold sores are highly contagious, so it is possible to get a cold sore from,
- Kissing an infected person
- Sharing utensils and drinking from the same glass as an infected person
- Oral sex
Before a blister even develops, you may notice burning, tingling, pain, or itching around the affected area of the lip. If this is your first time dealing with a cold sore, it is common for the first outbreak to be the worst. In this case, you may develop a fever, body aches, or other flu-like symptoms.
When it comes to treating a cold sore, you can find simple over-the-counter creams that help to ease symptoms. If you deal with severe cold sore outbreaks you may wish to talk with your dermatologist about a prescription antiviral medication, that can help to reduce the length of your outbreak and reduce symptom severity.
Cold sores and canker sores can often be mistaken for each other, but they are not the same. First, cold sores usually develop on the lips while canker sore cause painful sores to develop in the mouth. Secondly, cold sores are due to a virus while we still don’t know exactly what causes canker sores.
How is molluscum contagiosum contracted?
You may be wondering how your child contracted this poxvirus. There are several ways to transmit this viral infection: skin-to-skin contact, sharing items such as towels or clothes, sexual transmission (in adults), and scratching your own lesions (this can lead to further spreading of the papules).
It can take anywhere from two weeks to six months to develop symptoms after exposure. Once a child or person has molluscum contagiosum they typically aren’t infected again in the future.
How is this condition diagnosed?
If you notice any bumps on your child that persist for days, you must consult your dermatologist to find out what’s going on. A simple dermatoscopy (a painless, non-invasive procedure that allows your dermatologist to examine a skin lesion or growth) can determine whether the papule is due to molluscum contagiosum. If MC is not suspected, your dermatologist may biopsy the bump for further evaluation.
How is molluscum contagiosum treated?
Since this is the result of a viral infection, antibiotics will not be an effective treatment option. In fact, the body simply needs time to fight the virus. Your dermatologist may just tell you to wait until the infection runs its course and clears up on its own.
If the papules are widespread and affecting your teen’s appearance and self-esteem, then you may wish to talk with a dermatologist about ways to get rid of the spots. Cryotherapy or certain creams may be recommended to treat and get rid of these spots.
If you are living with others, it’s important to avoid sharing any clothing or towels with the infected child or person. Make sure that your child does not scratch the bumps, which can lead to further spreading of the infection.
If your child is dealing with a rash, raised bumps, or any skin problems and you’re not sure what’s going on, it’s best to talk with a qualified dermatologist who can easily diagnose the issue and provide you with effective solutions for how to treat it.
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