When You Should Get Checked for Skin Cancer?

Are you concerned about a change in a mole or a spot on your skin that just doesn't look right? Skin cancer screenings offered by your Colorado Springs, CO, dermatologist, Dr. Ronald Johnson of Academy Dermatology and Laser Center, help you protect your health.

When you should see your skin doctor

Unlike other types of cancer, skin cancer doesn't usually cause dramatic changes in your health or appearance, at least in the early stages. Unfortunately, if you put off visiting the dermatologist because a non-healing sore or other symptom seems like a minor issue, cancer can become advanced and more difficult to treat. It's best to visit the Colorado Springs, CO, dermatology office for a skin cancer check at these times:

  • If a mole changes: Changes in a mole could be caused by melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer. Let your dermatologist know if your mole bleeds, itches, oozes, changes shape, becomes asymmetrical, or is larger than a pencil eraser. If your mole becomes rough or bumpy, or the border is blurred or irregular, make an appointment for a skin cancer check.
  • When you have a suspicious spot on your skin: Any spots or sores that don't get better after a few weeks should be examined. Basal cell carcinoma can cause shiny, skin-colored bumps; flat, scaly sores; waxy, flat patches that look like scars; or could be the reason for a non-healing sore or a brown, black, blue, red or pink spot on your skin. Raised bumps can also be a sign of squamous cell carcinoma. Other symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma include flaky or crusty patches of red skin, which may turn into sores; a sore or raised patch of skin on an old scar, or sores or red patches in your mouth, or on your anus or genitals.
  • Every year: Yearly skin cancer screenings make it easy to find suspicious skin changes. Annual skin cancer checks are particularly important if you've had skin cancer in the past, have a family history of skin cancer, have light skin or eyes, burn or freckle easily, or have many moles.

If your dermatologist thinks that a mole or spot could be cancerous, he'll remove it and send it to a laboratory for testing. Treatment for skin cancer depends on the type and severity and can range from topical creams that kill skin cancer cells to surgery to remove cancer.

Do you need to schedule a skin cancer screening? Call your dermatologist in Colorado Springs, Dr. Johnson of Academy Dermatology and Laser Center at (719) 590-1800 to schedule your appointment.