Importance of a Yearly Skin Exam

May is a really good time to get a yearly skin exam. Why? Did you know that May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month? Did you know skin cancer is the most common type of cancer? Luckily, it’s also one of the most manageable if you spot it early. This blog will help you learn how to check your skin for suspicious moles and why we recommend a yearly check-up with Dr. Baker. If you’re near Germantown, Collierville, Memphis, Arlington, Shelby, or Fayette County, Dermatology Realm has your guide to yearly skin exams. 

Understanding Skin Cancer

How does skin cancer happen? It begins when your skin cells start growing out of control. It can happen to anyone. But it’s more likely if you spend a lot of time in the sun or if you’ve ever used a tanning bed. There are three main varieties of skin cancer: 

  • Melanoma
  • Basal cell carcinoma (BCC)
  • Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)

Melanoma is the rarer type. However, it’s serious because it can spread to other parts of your body. So we’ve got to catch it quickly. BCC and SCC are more common and tend to stay in the skin. Consequently, they can be easier to treat if found early.

Think about this: millions of people are treated for skin cancer every year, and addressing it early can make a huge difference. For example, the survival rate for early-stage melanoma is over 90%. That’s a big deal!

Importance of yearly Skin Exam

The ABCDEs of Melanoma Detection

Now, let’s talk about the ABCDEs of melanoma detection. This easy-to-remember guide helps you spot the warning signs of melanoma on your skin. Here’s what each letter stands for:

A is for Asymmetry

If you can draw a line through a mole and the two halves don’t match, it’s asymmetrical. A normal mole is symmetrical, which means both halves look the same.

B is for Border

Check the edges of your moles. A mole with smooth and even edges is normal. If the edges are jagged, blurry, or irregular, it’s time to see Dr. Baker.

C is for Color

Is your mole one solid color? That’s a good sign. However, be wary if it has different colors or shades—like a mix of brown, black, tan, red, white, or blue.

D is for Diameter

Smaller moles are less worrisome. Look for moles larger than the size of a pencil eraser (about 6mm) and keep an eye on them.

E is for Evolving

Any change in size, shape, color, or texture can be a red flag. Also, if a mole starts to itch, bleed, or doesn’t heal, these could be signs of trouble.

Using the ABCDE rule, you can give yourself regular skin exams at home. Remember, catching melanoma early can make all the difference. If anything seems off, it’s better to have our Dermatology Realm team take a look. 

Risk Factors for Skin Cancer

Knowing what ups your chances of getting skin cancer can help you stay safer. Skin exams can help identify the following risk factors:

Sun Exposure: The sun’s UV rays are the top cause of most skin cancers. Having more sunburns, especially blistering ones from when you were young, increases your risk.

Tanning Beds: Bad news for tanning fans. Talking beds are just as harmful as the sun, if not more. They also shoot out strong UV rays that damage your skin.

Skin Type: If you have fair skin, light eyes, and hair, your risk is higher. You have less melanin, which helps protect against UV radiation.

Moles: Having a lot of moles or atypical ones (big or oddly shaped) can boost your skin cancer risk.

Family History: Like many health issues, if your family has a history of skin cancer, you might be more likely to get it, too.

Age: The older you get, the longer you’ve been exposed to UV. Age raises your chances.

Immune System: Do you have a weakened immune system? If you have experienced immunity complications from certain medications or diseases, you may be more at risk.

Staying informed about these factors isn’t just smart—it’s protective. Adjust your habits and monitor your skin. Yearly skin exams with Dr. Baker keep you healthy.

The Importance of Yearly Skin Exams

Yearly skin exams are your frontline defense against skin cancer, acting like an annual check-up for your skin’s health. Here’s why they’re key.

Preempting cancer can improve your treatment effectiveness. You’ll especially observe this with melanoma. Our Dermatology Realm professionals are trained to spot the early signs of skin cancer that you might miss on your own. We can detect subtle shifts in your skin over time. We look for changes in moles or the appearance of new growths. Each of these could be an early indicator of a problem.

Getting a professional assessment can also provide peace of mind. Even if everything looks good, knowing for sure can ease any lingering worries. On the other hand, if there are areas of concern, early detection often allows for simpler, less invasive treatment options.

During your exam, you can also learn. Dr. Baker can teach you how to conduct thorough skin exams at home. He will show you what signs to watch out for. You’ll take an active role in monitoring your skin health.

Yearly skin exams keep you proactive about your health. Plus, they’re typically quick and straightforward. They’re a small investment of time for a significant potential benefit. So, make that appointment with Dr. Baker. It’s a smart move for keeping your skin healthy.

Importance of yearly Skin Exam

Yearly Skin Exams in Germantown

See Dr. Baker at Dermatology Realm in Germantown for your yearly skin exam. Many of our patients live in neighboring communities like Collierville, Memphis, Bartlett, Lakeland, Arlington, Shelby, or Fayette County. Go here to schedule your appointment.