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A Physician’s Brush with Skin Cancer: A Call for Proactive Skincare

By Melinda Steele, MD

A Physician’s Brush with Skin Cancer: A Call for Proactive Skincare

A Physician’s Brush with Skin Cancer: A Call for Proactive Skincare

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s a good time for me to share my recent personal experience that underscored the importance of regular skin checks and sun protection. During a routine self-exam, I discovered a precancerous lesion, a type of actinic keratosis, on my face. While relieved it wasn't melanoma, the experience served as a powerful reminder that no one is immune to the sun's harmful effects. Initially, I hesitated to seek treatment, but thanks to my husband's encouragement, I underwent a simple liquid nitrogen procedure to remove the lesion.

This incident highlighted several crucial points:

  1. Early detection is critical. Catching precancerous lesions allows for swift and effective treatment, preventing them from developing into more serious conditions.
  2. Sun protection is vital. I consistently recommend broad-spectrum sunscreen that is water-resistant and has an SPF of 30 or higher.
  3. Regular self-examinations are key for early detection.

When examining your skin, be on the lookout for the ABCDEs of melanoma:

  • Asymmetry: Does one half of the mole differ from the other?
  • Border: Is the border irregular, uneven, or blurred?
  • Color: Is the mole a uniform color, or does it have multiple colors?
  • Diameter: Is the mole larger than 6 millimeters (about the size of a pencil eraser)?
  • Evolving: Has the mole changed in size, shape, or color?

If you notice any concerning changes, schedule an appointment with your doctor.

This experience served as a valuable reminder for me, and I hope it serves as an encouragement to you. It reinforces the importance of prioritizing our health, not just for ourselves, but for our loved ones as well. By taking proactive measures like sun protection and regular skin checks, we can significantly reduce our risk of skin cancer and maintain healthy skin for years to come.

At Lifestyle Medical, we will regularly screen for skin cancer during your physical. We’re here to help you take control of your health and live a long, vibrant life! We offer a free introductory meeting with one of our Primary Care Providers to help you decide if we’re a good fit. Schedule your free appointment today.

Learn more from the American Academy of Dermatology!

 

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