Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. today, affecting one in every five Americans at some point during their lives. Because May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, the team at FotoFinder would like to share some basic information about this potentially deadly, but highly preventable, disease. Check out these simple steps for keeping moles and skin cancer at bay throughout your life.
When skin cancer is detected early, it is nearly always curable. That is why annual appointments with a dermatologist are a must for those who have a higher risk for skin cancer, including those who have:
• A fair skin tone
• Family history of skin cancer
• Previous cancerous or pre-cancerous growths
• History of sunburns
• Numerous moles or abnormal moles
• Excessive sun exposure
• Living in a high altitude or sunny climate
Even if you don’t have many risk factors, it is important to see your doctor annually for a skin check. If you notice any new growths or changes to current moles, you should make an appointment with your physician as soon as possible.
Know the ABCDE Rule
As you perform regular skin checks at home, it can be very helpful to know the signs of a questionable mole that should be checked. To make it easier, follow the ABCDE rule of skin cancer:
A – Asymmetry (If you drew a line through the middle of the mole would the two halves look basically the same?)
B – Border (Benign moles have even borders, while potential malignancies do not have well-defined borders.)
C – Color (Is your mole all a uniform color or is it a variety of shades of brown, black, white, red or blue, indicating a possible malignancy?)
D – Diameter (Benign moles are generally smaller, while possible malignancies tend to be larger than the eraser on the end of a pencil.)
E – Evolving (Has your mole changed in any of these features since you first noticed it?)
If you notice any of your moles fall into one or more of these categories, it is a good idea to have it checked by a physician as soon as possible.
Practice Sun Protection
Since most skin cancers are caused by sun exposure, proper sun protection can prevent many of these cancers from every developing. Sun protection includes wearing a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every day, even when it is not sunny outside. If you are going to be outdoors for an extended period of time, make sure to reapply sunscreen every two hours or after being in the water.
In addition to wearing sunscreen, you can protect your skin from dangerous sun exposure by remaining indoors or seeking shade during the middle of the day and covering up skin with clothing as much as possible. It is also a good idea to avoid tanning beds completely, since these devices can also increase your risk for skin cancer by emitting similar rays to those from the sun.
FotoFinder’s Dynamole software module can take skin cancer diagnostics to a whole new level, by offering precision not seen in mole comparison before. This technology allows for an exact comparison of a skin lesion over time so that even subtle changes can be detected early. While Dynamole does not provide a final diagnosis, it is a tool that can raise the accuracy of diagnostics so that potential malignancies can be treated as early as possible.
To learn more about Dynamole software and its benefits as a diagnostic tool, contact FotoFinder at 888-501-0805.