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Know the Warning Signs of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is more common in the U.S. than all other forms of cancer combined, and the number of cases is only growing. Most skin cancer starts when the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun damage your skin cells by causing a tan or a sunburn. Tanning beds and sun lamps also expose your skin to concentrated UV rays, dramatically increasing your risk for skin cancer. 

The experts at Orange Coast Dermatology in Santa Margarita and Mission Viejo, California advise you to examine your skin monthly and have a skin cancer screening every year to check for the warning signs of the disease.

Skin changes 

The most common types of skin cancer — basal cell and squamous cell cancers — are usually found on areas of the skin that have been exposed to the sun or to tanning beds. However, they can appear anywhere, which is why you should check all of your skin — including your scalp, palms, soles, and between your fingers and toes.

Look for:

You also need to check your back and behind your ears. 

Changes in your moles

Most moles are benign and don’t change much over time. However, moles that grow, bleed, or change shape should be evaluated immediately. Changes in a mole could be a sign that it’s developing into a melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. 

Contact your Orange Coast Dermatology dermatologist right away if you notice any of the ABCDEs of mole changes that suggest melanoma:

A: Asymmetrical moles or birthmarks (the halves don’t match)

B: Borders that are raggedy, notched, blurry, or irregular

C: Colors that vary or are multicolored, such as combinations of browns, blacks, pinks, reds, and whites

D: Diameter that is more than a pencil eraser (about 6mm)

E: Evolving moles that change in size, color, shape, or regularity

If you notice other changes in your moles that don’t fit these categories, or if you notice new, suspicious growths, tell your doctor right away. 

Early detection leads to cure

The dermatologists at Orange Coast Dermatology are experts at a highly specialized form of skin cancer surgery called Mohs surgery, which is the gold standard in skin cancer treatment. Mohs surgery is 99% effective at curing new skin cancer lesions, and 94% effective at curing recurrent lesions. 

To schedule a skin cancer screening or evaluation, call us today or book an appointment online.

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