Five warning signs for skin cancer

Fairfax, Va. (WUSA9) -- While warm days, golden tans and outdoor activities are what run through most minds during the summer months, experts are concerned that necessary skin protection is being forgotten. Skin cancer is the number one type of cancer found in men, and the cause of death for approximately 86 hundred men per year. According to Dr. John Moynihan of Inova Fairfax Hospital, one of the main reasons for this trend is that men may not visit the dermatologist or protect their skin as frequently as they should.

"As men are out in the sun more often than women are, we don't take those precautions like using sunscreen or wearing a hat or shirt," Dr. Moynihan says. "And as men we are often reluctant to seek attention by a physician, but this is the time that it's very important to do so."

Men over the age of 50 are more than twice as likely as women to die from their skin cancer, and new research has found higher rates of skin cancer in even younger ages. According to a recent report from Mayo Clinic, there has been a large increase in basal and squamous cell cancer in men under 40 years old.

For prevention, Dr. Moynihan suggests a sunscreen that shields both UVA and UVB rays. For detection, Dr. Moynihan provides the ABCDE's of finding early signs of skin cancer and stopping its progression:

1. A - Asymmetry

If you have a new or old mole, check to see if the shape is the same on both sides. The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests drawing a visible or imaginary line down the middle of the mole and seeing if both halves mirror each other. If they do not match, it may be time to visit a dermatologist.

2. B - Borders

Check the edges of the mole and insure that it is not irregular, abnormal, or uneven.

3. C - Color

The color of your mole could indicate a need to visit a dermatologist. Dr. Moynihan says moles that are pink, blue, black, or more in color than your normal skin tone should be checked out.

4. D - Diameter

Look to see if your mole is the size of a pea or larger. If the mole is pea size or bigger, "you have to see your physician immediately," says Dr. Moynihan.

5. E - Evolving

Monitor new and old moles over time. You should report any changes on your skin to your dermatologist. According to Dr. Moynihan, not all skin cancer is terminal especially if caught early. "Most skin cancers as we mentioned can be treated with local excision or removal," Dr. Moynihan says. "There's been huge advances in the treatment of skin cancers."

Written by:
Alana Yzola, WUSA9


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