Sunny weather brings us outdoors to enjoy all of the recreational opportunities that the Inland Northwest has to offer. However, these activities increase our exposure to the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation, and with it the associated risk of developing skin cancer. It goes without saying that we should all apply a broad spectrum sun block every couple of hours when out in the sun. However, it is also critically important that we should become acquainted with the ABCDEs of skin cancer screening, and use them regularly when monitoring any skin changes:
- A) Asymmetry. Skin cancers tends to be irregular. If you were able to fold a skin lesion in half, you would find that the edges do not line up.
- B) Blurred border. It is difficult to see where a worrisome skin lesion starts and stops; instead, it tends to blend in with the normal surrounding skin.
- C) Color variation. Skin cancers frequently take on multiple colors or hues within the same lesion, oftentimes varying between brown and black, but sometimes appearing blue or red.
- D) Diameter. Lesions greater than 5mm (1/5 inch) have a higher probability of being malignant.
- E) Expanding. Rapidly growing lesions, such as those changing over a few weeks to a few months, are much more concerning for malignancy.
Regularly check you skin for these findings, and see your physician immediately if you notice anything unusual.
Skin lesion inspection and removal is a service provided in our office, and is covered by our Direct Primary Care membership. If you have a suspicious lesion and would like to schedule an appointment, please contact our office at 208-772-5204.
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