May is Melanoma Awareness Month! Are You at Risk?

NW Face, Melanoma - Image

You may not know, but May is Melanoma Skin Cancer Awareness Month.  Aimed at raising awareness about the need for early detection and prevention of this potentially deadly skin cancer, we, at The Laser & Skin Surgery Center, like to emphasize the importance of skin examinations for early detection, especially this month.

Dr. Diwan will be participating in a free skin cancer screening on Saturday, May 7, 2016 under the auspices of the American Academy of Dermatology. Patients will be offered free skin examinations to detect suspicious moles and growths, and skin cancers at Fairview Hospital. Dr. Diwan hopes that people who do not see a dermatologist due to financial reasons will take advantage of this opportunity.

Always an advocate for skin health, Dr. Diwan strives to help her patients understand the importance of self- examination of the skin to detect changing growths or spots.

Are You at Risk?

Numerous studies have established that the risk of melanoma increases with the total number of moles on the body. While most melanomas arise on skin without a mole, 20-40% melanomas arise from pre-existing moles. When changing moles or new moles are detected early, by self-examination or skin examination by a dermatologist, a diagnosis of melanoma can be made sooner. Treated in its early stages, melanoma is almost always curable.

Always Be Vigilant

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2015 alone, 73, 870 individuals were diagnosed with melanoma.  Monthly self-examination of the skin is a judicious practice for people who have had a lot of sun exposure or have many moles.  What are you looking for? Look for the ABCDE – which stands for asymmetry, border, color, diameter and evolving appearance; a change in the feel of existing moles and be aware of any new growths.

If you are between 20 and 39 years old, and have not had a melanoma or suspicious mole, The American Cancer Society recommends that you see your dermatologist every three years for a full body skin exam. After 40, you should see your physician yearly.

At our practice, we offer a number of skin care services to preserve and enhance the health of your skin. Whether you have brown spots and discoloration (such as melasma), skin growths and moles—Dr. Diwan will work closely with you to educate you about monitoring and screening, as well as sun protection and other ways to optimize your skin health.

Go Mobile

Mobile apps such as SkinVision and Mole Monitor can be useful tools for taking photographs of moles with a Smartphone camera and tracking them over time. The photographic record can be useful for early detection of changes and can be shared with a dermatologist during a visit. Using a mobile app does not replace the need for a skin exam by a dermatologist.

Personal Skin Health Exam and Counsel with Dr. Diwan

Remember, self-awareness and early detection are key! If you do find something of concern, Dr. Diwan will perform a personal skin health exam and counsel you regarding skin cancer prevention. Please contact our Westlake practice to schedule a consultation with Dr. Diwan.