Skin Cancer Screening
Skin cancer screening saves lives. Early detection and early treatment are the key to catching and dealing with cancer before it spreads. It is critical to find abnormal tissue or cancer early because it may be easier to treat. By the time symptoms appear, cancer may have begun to spread. Dr. Ress and his team at liv Plastic Surgery have been helping patients in Boca Raton and all surrounding areas, including Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Fort Lauderdale and all throughout Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, to give them the best chance of staying healthy.
Skin Cancer Screening?
Skin cancer screening is a total body examination to detect skin cancers early. Not everyone has to worry about routine skin cancer screening but it is a recommendation for people who have a family history of skin cancer and who have any suspicious moles or other spots. At liv Plastic Surgery, we use VivaScope® laser scanning technology. VivaScope® is known as “The Window into Skin” and is a non-invasive, non-surgical biopsy that will map and depict living tissue in the skin. This technology allows us to avoid stressful and painful tissue excision and yield the results in a matter of minutes instead of weeks. We know that any concern regarding cancer, whether small or large, is distressing and quick results can help put your mind at ease.
How do I Self Check for Skin Cancer?
Knowing your body is the most important safety measure you could take. It is important to perform self skin checks once a month. Doing this will allow you to identify abnormal spots that require professional evaluation. Follow these steps to check your own skin:
- If you are just starting this you will need to learn your skin first. Set a baseline. Know what is normal and what is abnormal.
- The best time to do a skin check is after a shower, in a brightly-lit room. Start at your head and go through your face, ears and scalp. Move through each section of your body all the way down to your toes (and yes, in between each toe). Having a hand-held mirror and a full length mirror will help you to see the back of you.
- Almost everyone has beauty marks, skin tags, moles or some skin bumps. These are not necessarily a concern. However, note what you do find as this will help you understand if there is a change. As you continue to do this check every month you will want to take note of the following:
- A change in the size, shape, texture or color of something that you noticed prior
- A new, different-looking mole
- A new patch of red or dark skin that may be flaky or a little raised
- A new flesh-colored bump that feels firm
- A sore that won’t heal
When do I Visit a Physician for a Skin Cancer Screening?
If you see anything suspicious or notice that something has changed, be safe and make a consultation for a skin cancer screening. Here are some things to look for when deciding if to call:
- When you notice a new growth
- When you notice a change in an existing growth
- A mole that itches or bleeds
- A mole that becomes crusty or scaly
A good rule of thumb is to use the ABCD rule:
- Asymmetry — If the shape of one side of the growth does not match the other side.
- Border — If the edges of the growth are rough or ragged.
- Color — If the color is not consistent. Any uneven shades of red, brown, black, white, tan etc.
- Diameter — If the size is large or grows larger, usually greater than 6 mm.