Skin cancer is one of the leading types of cancer diagnoses made today. Education regarding this prevalent disease is necessary for several reasons. First, because there are three different types of skin cells that can mutate into skin cancer. These include the basal cells, the squamous cells, and the melanocytes. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are more common than melanoma. Still, the latter causes approximately one death per hour in America. Another reason it is essential to understand skin cancer is that, with early detection and treatment, this disease can be beaten. Here, we discuss how a changing mole may be a sign worth looking for.
Do All Moles Pose a Risk for Skin Cancer?
Moles are areas in which skin cells, often melanocytes, have grown in a clump. Some moles are present at birth. Most develop between birth and age 20. A person may have up to a few dozen moles spread across their body. This is normal and not typically cause for concern. In most cases, a mole is simply a benign, noncancerous clump of cells. However, because cells may morph, it is important to know every mole, so that signs of change can be quickly spotted.
One of the best ways to avoid skin cancer is to see a dermatologist every year. Dr. Bucay performs whole-body skin cancer screenings to note and track the moles on a patient’s skin. Sometimes, a special instrument called a dermatoscope is used during skin cancer screenings to observe skin cells more closely.
It is not unheard of for a mole to change over time without becoming cancerous. However, because the potential is there, it is important that any change in size, color, texture, or border is evaluated right away. The characteristics of the change may alert the doctor to perform further tests, such as a biopsy. A skin biopsy takes only a few minutes and can be done using a local anesthetic to make the test more comfortable.
Schedule your Skin Cancer Screening
Whether you currently have a mole that is causing concern or you want to get to know your skin better, now is a great time to schedule your appointment with Dr. Bucay. In our San Antonio offices, we prioritize early diagnosis and treatment to achieve the best outcomes. To schedule your skin cancer screening, contact us today.