You Are the First Line of Defense against Skin Cancer

Make no mistake: cancer is a serious disease. Amongst one of the most common types is skin cancer. However, with diligence and early detection, skin cancer is easily treatable and has a high cure rate. With this knowledge, it is important to keep in mind that treatment and prevention do not simply “happen:” it requires a diligent, concerted, and well-practiced ethic.

Within the field of dermatology, Denver doctors and medical care practitioners agree that the first step to successful cancer treatments is practicing proactivity. In other words, it is highly recommended to incorporate routine self-check examinations as part of your skincare routine.

How to Perform a Self-Check

Performing a self-evaluation is inexpensive and may be performed in the comfort of your own home. Simply have access to a full-length mirror, a handheld mirror, and a bright light source.

First, have familiarity with your body: this is where the importance of the routine comes in. If you know how your skin normally looks, it is easier to detect abnormalities or changes in the pattern. Keep in mind that symptoms of skin cancer may appear anywhere–even places that are not normally exposed to the sun.

It is easier to perform an exam after you have taken a bath. Using your light and mirrors, examine your skin by section:

Head and Hair

Hands and Fingers

Arms

Chest and Belly

Thighs, Shins, Feet, and Toes

Genital Area

Backs of Calves and Thighs

What You Are Looking for

Remember that familiarity encourages confidence. Not every blemish is a skin mutation. However, you will want to look for the warning signs:

Red or Dark-Colored Patches

Firm Lumps

Sores That Don’t Heal in at Least 2 Weeks

Moles That Have Changed Size, Shape, or Color

Painful or Itchy Moles

Communicate and Act

If you notice something out of the ordinary, request an appointment with your physician. Your care provider may issue additional testing, such as a biopsy, to determine the presence of cancer. You may also be referred to a dermatologist or cancer specialist to address the condition.

There is no mistaking this simple fact: early detection increases the odds of successful cancer treatment. When you detect an abnormality, don’t put things off or wish it away. Seek medical attention and make your opening moves against cancer the winning ones.

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