Posts for tag: Skin Cancer
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, almost everyone has at least a few moles—sometimes up to 40 or more. Millions of Americans have lived with moles for many years without an issue. But some patients may need to have them removed for health reasons. Find out when you should have a mole checked out by a dermatologist at Alamo Heights Dermatology in San Antonio, TX.
What Moles Look Like
Moles, also called nevi, are often dark brown, black, or deep red in color, depending on the complexion of the person. They are more visible and more common in people with lighter skin. They are small, raised bumps that often appear on the face, neck, and limbs of the body. Some people develop them in childhood while other people see them appear as adults. If you don't check your skin every day, you may not even notice that you have them.
When You Should Have a Mole Looked At
Whenever a mole that has looked the same for years suddenly starts to change, that is something to be concerned about. Adults who find brand new moles should keep an eye on them. See your San Antonio dermatologist for a skin exam in these cases:
- The mole changes in color, size, border, symmetry, or texture.
- The mole is starting to itch, bleed, or emit other fluids.
- There has been a previous case of skin cancer or a cancerous mole.
- You are in an at-risk group (very high number of moles, pale skin, and/or family history).
Having a Mole Treated
If your dermatologist determines that a mole is abnormal, a biopsy will be done to evaluate the cells further. Mole removal, also called excision, can be done in the office when an issue is caught early, which is why dermatologists strongly encourage regular skin exams (both at home and at the doctor's office) for at-risk patients.
Have Your Moles Examined Soon
If you have a lot of moles or have experienced mole problems in the past, it's a good idea to schedule regular skin checkups with a dermatologist. An urgent appointment should be scheduled if you notice any concerning changes to a mole. Contact Dr. Rebecca Kelso or Dr. Emily Fridlington at Alamo Heights Dermatology in San Antonio, TX by calling 210-255-8447 today.
We all want to achieve a healthy tan. It makes us look and feel better, but that bronzed glow may not be as healthy as you think. A tan is your skin’s reaction to ultraviolet (UV) light. This darkening of the skin cells is the skin's natural defense against further damage from UV radiation.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), nearly 28 million people tan in the United States annually. Of these, 2.3 million are teens. Many people believe the UV rays of tanning beds are harmless, but this is far from true. Tanning beds emit UVA and usually UVB rays as well. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause long-term skin damage and premature aging (i.e. wrinkles, spots and sagging skin), and can contribute to skin cancer.
The AAD states that the risk of melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer—is 75% higher among people who used tanning beds in their teens and 20s. Despite the known risks associated with indoor tanning these numbers continue to increase, as do the incidences of cancer.
Visit your dermatologist immediately if you detect any unusual changes in your skin’s appearance, such as:
- A change or an increase in the size or thickness of a mole or spot
- Change in color or texture of the mole
- Irregularity in the border of a mole
Protecting yourself from UV exposure is the best defense against premature aging and skin cancer. In addition to avoiding indoor tanning beds, you should also always wear sunscreen outdoors to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Remember to self-examine your own skin as well as have your skin checked regularly by your dermatologist.
Whether you acquire your tan from the beach or a lamp, it’s not safe and it’s not healthy. If you’re a regular tanner, it may be time to rethink your current stance on the standards of beauty. There are safe alternatives to a bronzed glow without risking your health.
Find out the telltale signs that it might be time to make an appointment with us.
Whether you have just noticed a new mole, or a growth that you’ve had for years suddenly seems to be changing, these are all situations that warrant a trip to see our San Antonio, TX dermatologists Dr. Rebecca Kelso and Dr. Emily Fridlington. The ABCDE rule is a simple yet effective way to help determine whether a mole could be cancerous.
What is the ABCDE rule?
This is a great way to determine whether it’s time that one of our San Antonio skin doctors took a look at your skin:
Asymmetry: One side of a healthy mole should be a mirror image of the other side, but a cancerous mole will often have one-half that is asymmetrical, or doesn’t match the shape or size of the other half.
Border: A noncancerous mole typically has a clear smooth border but a suspicious mole will have edges that seem less defined. They may even be a bit uneven or jagged.
Color: Moles should only be one solid color. If a mole starts to change color or you start to notice spots of brown, black, red, grey, white, or even blue, then it’s time to schedule an appointment with us.
Diameter: While melanoma can also be small, they are usually pretty large, reaching over 6mm wide.
Evolving: If you have noticed that the mole has changed in any way over the last couple of weeks or even months then it’s time to make a trip to our office. The smallest change may not seem like much but it could be warning you of skin cancer.
We recommend that everyone, even those that aren’t at risk for skin cancer, come in once a year for a skin cancer screening. And you may want to come in more regularly if…
- You have fair skin
- You have light eyes
- You have blonde or red hair
- You have a personal or familial history of skin cancer
- You spend a lot of time in the sun, whether for fun or for work
- You’ve experienced sunburns, particularly when you were young
- You’ve ever been in a tanning bed
- You have a significant amount of moles
Don’t ignore changes in your skin. If you are concerned about the appearance of a mole then it’s best to play it safe and call Alamo Heights Dermatology in San Antonio, TX, right away.
Find out what to expect after you’ve been diagnosed with skin cancer.
If you’ve just been diagnosed with melanoma by one of our San Antonio, TX, dermatologists, Dr. Rebecca Kelso or Dr. Emily Fridlington, you may be wondering, “Now what?” This is a common and completely understandable response after hearing you have skin cancer. You want to know everything that is going to happen over the course of your treatment and we are here to shed some light on what to expect after your diagnosis.
First of all, you should know that you are certainly not alone. Melanoma is actually one of the most common cancers to affect both men and women. So, take a deep breath and read on…
There are four phases that a lot of patients dealing with melanoma seem to go through. These phases include discovery, diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Even after your diagnosis, our San Antonio, TX, skin doctors may recommend further testing to determine which treatment options will be most effective. You may need blood work, MRIs, CT scans, PET scans or biopsies.
We will also determine the stage of your skin cancer. Things such as how deep and thick the tumor is, as well as other symptoms, such as bleeding or color changes that can help us make this determination. We will also need to determine how far the cancer has already spread (e.g. whether it’s reached the lymph nodes or not). We understand that all this news can come as quite a shock, so we highly recommend bringing a friend or family member to be with you during your visit. They can help take notes or ask questions to help make the visit as valuable for you as possible.
Treating Skin Cancer
There are many treatment options available and the type of treatment we recommend will depend on the stage of your skin cancer. Sometimes surgery (e.g. Mohs surgery) is the best option, while chemotherapy, radiation and immunotherapy may be more effective.
We may also recommend surgery in conjunction with chemotherapy or radiation to address your cancer. We will provide you with detailed information about your options so that you can determine which option is right for you and your lifestyle. We are here for you, so don’t hesitate to ask us all the questions you have.
Alamo Heights Dermatology in San Antonio, TX, is here to make sure that you get the best dermatological care you deserve, whether you have skin cancer or are just looking for acne treatment. Call us today to learn more!
Although moles are usually harmless, in some cases they can become cancerous, causing melanoma. For this reason, it is important to regularly examine your skin for any moles that change in size, color, shape, sensation or that bleed. Suspicious or abnormal moles or lesions should always be examined by your dermatologist.
What to Look For
Remember the ABCDE's of melanoma when examining your moles. If your mole fits any of these criteria, you should visit your dermatologist as soon as possible.
- Asymmetry. One half of the mole does not match the other half.
- Border. The border or edges of the mole are poorly defined or irregular.
- Color. The color of the mole is not the same throughout or has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white or red.
- Diameter. The diameter of a mole is larger than the eraser of a pencil.
- Evolution. The mole is changing in size, shape or color.
Moles can appear anywhere on the skin, including the scalp, between the fingers and toes, on the soles of the feet and even under the nails. The best way to detect skin cancer in its earliest, most curable stage is by checking your skin regularly and visiting our office for a full-body skin cancer screening. Use this guide to perform a self-exam.
- Use a mirror to examine your entire body, starting at your head and working your way to the toes. Also be sure to check difficult to see areas, including between your fingers and toes, the groin, the soles of your feet and the backs of your knees.
- Pay special attention to the areas exposed to the most sun.
- Don't forget to check your scalp and neck for moles. Use a handheld mirror or ask a family member to help you.
- Develop a mental note or keep a record of all the moles on your body and what they look like. If they do change in any way (color, shape, size, border, etc.), or if any new moles look suspicious, visit your dermatologist right away.
Skin cancer has a high cure rate if detected and treated early. The most common warning sign is a visible change on the skin, a new growth, or a change in an existing mole. Depending on the size and location of the mole, dermatologists may use different methods of mole removal. A body check performed by a dermatologist can help determine whether the moles appearing on the body are pre-cancerous or harmless.