Tag Archives: Skin Cancers

Skin Cancers: ABCDE’s Of Melanoma (Mayo Clinic)

Moles are a common skin growth, and most are harmless. But changes in moles and other pigmented patches may be the sign of skin cancer, particularly melanoma.

When it comes to early detection, just remember the ABCDEs.

“A” is for asymmetry.

“You want moles to be perfectly symmetrical, such that you could put a mirror right down the middle of it and the image would look the same,” says Dr. Catherine Degesys, a Mayo Clinic dermatologist.

“B” stands for border.

“You want a nice crisp edge to these pigmented lesions and no scalloped edges or indistinct edges,” says Dr. Degesys.

“C” is for color.

“In general, you want moles to be a homogenous color and not have multiple different pigmented areas,” Dr. Degesys adds.

“D” represents the mole’s diameter. Pigmented lesions being greater than 6 millimeters potentially need further evaluation.

“E” is probably the most important, and that corresponds with evolution, says Dr. Degesys.

“Any pigmented lesion or any moles that are changing are something that really needs to be evaluated by a dermatologist.”

Skin Cancer Removal: The Benefits Of Mohs Surgery

Mohs surgery is a highly effective skin cancer removal procedure that takes just a few hours. It is most often used to treat basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas, the two most common skin cancers.

Chapters: 0:00 How effective is Mohs Surgery? 0:23 When is Mohs Surgery used? 0:50 How does Mohs Surgery work? 1:55 Does Mohs Surgery cure skin cancer? 2:06 How long is the recovery period after Mohs Surgery?

Basal Cell Carcinoma: Diagnosis And Treatment

The skin is The largest organ in the body. It certainly receives the largest amount of ionizing radiation from the sun, the most common cause of genetic mutation of cells of the skin. As you get older, these mutations build up, leading to an increasing number of skin cancers that need removal.

In my younger years, I had red hair and lots of freckles. Between the freckles I had a little pigmentation to protect me from the sun. The only sunscreen then available was a messy white paste called zinc oxide, and I resorted to it infrequently. I was out a lot playing tennis, hiking and camping, and even skied once or twice. I did wear hats a lot, especially as I got older and wiser, but still it is amazing I’m not having more trouble now.

I go to the dermatologist every 3 to 6 months to get my actinic keratoses frozen off. These are the little patchy,rough irregularities in the skin that can grow into basal cell, and sometimes squamous cell cancer. I have had just one skin cancer, a basal cell, which I discovered when there was a patch on my chin that kept bleeding when I shaved. One of my classmates in medical school was a plastic surgeon, and kindly removed this lesion with a minimum of scarring.

Lots of doctors, usually Dermatologists, currently specialize in Mohs surgery, in which the basal cell  cancer is gradually shaved off until its margins, the edge of the shaved biopsy, show no cancer.

The moral of the story is to avoid unnecessary ultraviolet exposure. Don’t go to tanning studios. If you must be in the sun, put on sunscreen, and wear a hat. Some would argue that if you stay out of the sun you will get vitamin D deficiency. It is true that vitamin D Is important, and I would recommend checking your blood vitamin D level every year or so. But would rather take my vitamin D in a capsule than get it from sun exposure.

—Dr. C.