Posted on: 8 January 2019
Skin cancer is preventable and if caught early can be treated. It can affect just about anyone, but there are those individuals at high risk. It is, therefore, crucial that you are aware of the risk factors and warning signs of skin cancer, how to examine your skin and when you should seek medical advice.
What Are the Risk Factors For Skin Cancer?
The primary risk factor associated with skin cancer is severe exposure to ultraviolet radiation or UV radiation. This may either be from the sun or solariums. What happens? UV radiation damages the DNA in your skin cells leading to mutations. Frequent and severe exposure leads to accumulation of these mutations, and finally, you develop cancerous cells.
Melanin that accounts for your skin and hair pigmentation may protect you from the harmful UV radiation. The darker your skin tone is, the more you are protected. If you have a fairer complexion, you may want to take more precautions to prevent skin cancer. This also includes people with freckles, red or blond hair and green or blue eyes.
If you present with many moles that are unusual, characterised by being large, irregular borders, shapes or colours and smudgy, you should visit a skin cancer clinic for examination. They may be a false alarm, but it's better to be safe than sorry.
If your family has a history of skin cancer or you have been previously diagnosed and treated for skin cancer, you should visit a skin cancer clinic for examination. You should also receive lessons on performing skin cancer checks in your house.
What Should You Look Out For?
As indicated above, moles that have various characteristics mainly identify skin cancer — for example, ulcerated, raised, scaly, lumpy, enlarging, bleeding, itchy and weeping moles. These may not summarise all the characteristics but highlight the most common symptoms.
Where Should You Look For the Moles?
You should examine your whole body and if you have a partner, help each other out. Use bathroom mirrors and hand mirrors, and you can also lie down to get comfortable or inspect areas you can't while standing. Don't forget to check your scalp, the soles of your feet, in between toes and fingers and also under your nails!
Should You Visit a General Practitioner or a Dermatologist?
You can visit either. They are both trained to diagnose your skin. However, in the case that your general practitioner cannot diagnose your skin condition, he or she will refer you to a dermatologist.Share