How is skin cancer diagnosed?
A biopsy can tell if you have skin cancer and if you have cancer, skin cancer can determine the type of disease you have.
Is It A Mole or Melanoma? This Might Save Your Life! | Dermatologist Tips – 2022
How is skin cancer diagnosed?
To diagnose skin cancer, your doctor:
It can examine your skin. Your doctor may examine your skin to determine if the skin changes are cancer. More research may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.
Suspicious skin sampling for analysis (skin biopsy). Your doctor may take a suspicious skin sample for laboratory tests. A biopsy can tell if you have skin cancer and if you have cancer, skin cancer can determine the type of disease you have.
How are the stages of skin cancer (spread) determined?
If your doctor has diagnosed you with skin cancer, you may need to have additional tests to determine the extent (stage) of the cancer.
Because superficial skin cancers, such as basal cell carcinoma, are rare, a biopsy that identifies all of the growth is often the only study needed to determine the stage of the cancer. However, if you have a large squamous cell carcinoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, or melanoma, your doctor may recommend detailed tests to determine the prevalence of the cancer.
Additional tests may include imaging tests to look for nearby lymph nodes for signs of cancer, or surgery to remove a nearby lymph node and look for signs of cancer (sentinel lymph node biopsy).
Doctors use Roman numerals I to IV to indicate the stages of cancer. Stage I cancers are small in size and limited to the area where they started. Stage IV indicates advanced stage cancer that has spread to other parts of the body.
The stage of skin cancer helps determine which treatment option will be most effective.
How to protect against skin cancer?
Many skin cancers are preventable. To protect yourself, follow the following skin cancer prevention information:
At noon, give up the sun. For many people in North America, the sun’s rays are strongest between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Schedule outdoor activities at different times of the day, even in winter or when the weather is cloudy.
You absorb UV radiation all year round, and clouds provide very little protection against harmful rays. Avoiding the sun when the sun’s rays are strongest helps protect against sunburn and tanning, which can damage the skin and increase the risk of developing skin cancer. Gradual exposure to the sun can also cause cancer.
Use sunscreen all year round. Sunscreens do not filter out all harmful UV rays, especially radiation that can cause melanoma. But in general, they play a big role in the sun protection program.
Use a wide range of sunscreens with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15. Apply plenty of sunscreen and repeat every two hours or more frequently if you are swimming or sweating. Use plenty of sunscreen on exposed skin, including your lips, ear tips, and the top of your hands and neck.
Wear protective clothing. Sunscreens do not completely protect from UV rays. For this reason, protect your skin with dark-colored tight-fitting clothing that covers your arms and legs, and wear a wide-brimmed hat that provides more protection than a baseball cap or cap.
Some companies also sell light-protective clothing. A dermatologist can advise a suitable brand.
Don’t forget your sunglasses. Try to choose those that block both types of UV radiation – UVA and UVB rays.
Give up the solarium. The lights used in the solarium emit UV rays and increase your chances of developing skin cancer.
Learn about medications that make you sensitive to the sun. Some commonly used prescription and over-the-counter medications, including antibiotics, make your skin more vulnerable to the sun.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist about the side effects of any medication you are taking. If they increase your sensitivity to the sun’s rays, take special measures to stay away from the sun to protect your skin.
Check your skin regularly and tell your doctor about any changes. Examine your skin frequently for new skin growths or changes in existing skin spots, freckles, blemishes, and birthmarks.
Examine your face, neck, ears and scalp with a mirror.
Examine your chest, body, and upper and side parts of your hands and arms. Examine both the front and back of your foot, including the space between the heel and toes. Also check your genital area and the area between your back.
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