How a Skin Cancer Screening Could Save Your Life
By Dr. Patricia McCormack, M.D., F.A.A.D.
November 15, 2019
Category: Dermatology

Lumps, sores, spots on your skin—they can be the difference between life and death. Here at the Staten Island office of dermatologist Dr. Patricia McCormack, we can perfotm biopsies, treat skin lesions, and educate patients on the changes that could indicate cancer—read on to learn more.

The importance of regular skin cancer screenings

The American Cancer Society states that skin cancer is the most common malignancy in the United States. Broadly categorized as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and malignant melanoma, skin cancer can be treated successfully if detected in its earliest stages.

To that end, your dermatologist encourages yearly skin cancer screenings at her Staten Island office. Everyone age 40 and over should come in for a simple, yet thorough, visual inspection of their skin. This exam assesses all of your skin, checking freckles, moles, scars, birthmarks, and more, noting their location, size, shape, color, and texture.

Additionally, you should check your skin at home at least once a month. Use a mirror to inspect your neck, back, and any other areas that are hard to visualize. Have a loved one inspect your scalp thoroughly, as well.

Look for any spots that bleed, itch, grow, or simply will not heal. While these signs may be benign, they are suspicious and should be reported to Dr. McCormack right away.

Looking at moles

Most people have several moles (a term here defined as small, flat to raised, fleshy bumps that are tan to brown in color). These common moles typically are not cancerous; however, if they begin to change, be on the alert.

To check your moles at home, use this mnemonic device:

  • A stands for asymmetrical. If you drew a line through a mole, each side should be equal in size and shape.
  • B means border. Harmless moles have smooth edges, but moles that develop notches or scallops must be checked by your dermatologist.
  • C stands for color. Moles should be even in color throughout. If the color changes, or if a mole develops various colors, show it to your skin doctor.
  • D is for diameter. Non-cancerous moles are no larger than six millimeters in diameter or the size of a pencil eraser. Growth signals danger.
  • E means evolution. Moles should not evolve or change in any way—color, shape, size, and border should remain the same.

Come see us

Dr. Patricia McCormack and her team invite you to learn more about your skin and the simple evaluations that could save your life. We deliver quality, compassionate care to allow you to have the best skin possible! We have locations in Staten Island, Linden, and Point Pleasant Beach for your convenience. Contact us today for a skin check: for Staten Island, dial (718) 698-1616, for Linden, dial (908) 925-8877, and for Point Pleasant Beach, dial (732) 295-1331.

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