Autumn is in the air!! Summer has finally bid us a fond farewell and it’s time to embrace fall in all its Pumpkin Spice glory.
You probably spent a good deal of time during the past few months outside: tending your yard, exercising, or just lounging and basking in the summer sun. Perhaps you even overdid it and got sunburned a time or two.
This summer’s burn won’t likely cause problems right away; it can take between 5 and 20 years for visible changes to occur. But the effects of each sunburn are cumulative, and this year's sunburn will compound past damage.
Fall is the perfect time to schedule your annual full-body skin cancer screening! The summer sun is responsible for most of your UV exposure, so it’s easy to remember to schedule your appointment each year when you’re putting away your summer clothes.
Skin cancer is highly treatable when detected in time. Early diagnosis and treatment is essential to avoid its spread to surrounding tissue, nerves, and bones.
Your post-summer skin evaluation can start today with a self-examination to familiarize yourself with what is normal for your skin and see if there are any areas that cause you concern.
You should inspect your skin monthly for new bumps, spots, scaly patches that aren’t healing, and moles or dark spots showing the ABCDEs of melanoma:
[VIDEO] How to check your skin for skin cancer - AAD
Although self exams are extremely helpful in catching early changes to your skin, they do not replace periodic professional skin cancer screenings, and if you find an area of concern you should see your dermatologist as soon as possible.
Exposure to the sun’s UV light is a major risk factor for developing the three most common types of skin cancer:
BCC is the most common type of skin cancer and looks like a pinkish or flesh-colored bump. They tend to develop after many years of tanning - either outdoors or in a tanning bed. BCC can show up anywhere on the body, but are commonly found on the areas most exposed to the sun - the head, neck, and arms. Those with fair skin are the most at-risk for BCC.
SCC is the second most common form; typically showing up as a red, firm bump, scaly patch, or a sore that just won’t heal. If you have fair skin, you are more susceptible to SCC.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Look for new or dark spots on your skin and report any suspicious changes to your dermatologist right away. You are at-risk for melanoma if you used tanning beds, have fair skin, a family history of melanoma, or have had it in the past.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” You’ve heard that old saying, haven’t you? Heed these tips to protect your skin from damage.
When you’re really concerned about a spot on your skin, you want to get in to see the dermatologist as soon as possible.
Integrated Dermatology of Tidewater is often able to schedule same-day or next day appointments so you don’t have to worry about your health a minute longer than necessary.
To make an appointment, call the office at (757) 461-1033 or visit the website at idtidewater.com.