Step-by-Step Skin Check | What to Look For, Where to Look and How Often Should You Check

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#skinhealth #selfcheck #skincancer

More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. In fact, one in five Americans will be diagnosed in their lifetime. Statistics like these are why experts encourage preventive steps to keep your skin healthy and safe. But first, you need to know what you’re dealing with.

There are four primary types of skin cancer:
Basal Cell Carcinoma: This is the most common skin cancer and it typically looks like a flesh colored, pearl-like bump.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma: The second most common type, these abnormalities look like firm red bumps, scaly patches or sores that heal and then re-open.
Melanoma: Although it’s less prevalent than basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma, statistically, melanoma is the most deadly. It shows itself within moles or as dark spots on the skin.
Actinic Keratoses: Most common among adults 40 and older, actinic keratoses appear as scaly patches or spots on the skin.

What Puts You at Risk?

Ultraviolet rays from the sun are the main culprit (they can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes), but there are certain factors that can raise your risk for skin cancer. For instance, you have a higher risk if you have: a family history of skin cancer, fair skin, blue or green eyes, blonde or red hair or a high number of moles on your skin.

The Symptoms You Need to Know

Although signs of skin cancer can fluctuate greatly depending on your skin, any new moles or existing ones that begin to grow or change should be checked out by a dermatologist. Lesions (areas of your skin that been damaged in the past) that change, itch, bleed or don't heal are also something you should quickly flag to your dermatologist or primary care doctor.

Preventive Steps You Can Take Today

Skin cancer can be scary, but there’s good news: Protecting yourself from the sun now can help prevent future damage. The two most common types of skin cancer, basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, are highly curable if detected early and treated the right way.

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