At Dermatology Consultants we have been screening patients from Dallas/Fort Worth, Plano, Preston Hollow, Southlake area for over 30 years. We start by inspecting the top of the scalp and end by checking the bottom of your feet and everywhere in between.
What are we checking for? The three most common skin cancers: Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Melanoma.
Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common skin cancer and can look like a pimple or sore that will not heal. Basal Cell Carcinoma is not life threatening since it rarely spreads beyond the skin but it can locally invade the skin and is commonly found on the face. It can damage the eye, nose or ear if near or on those locations. It can be on the chest, back, arms and legs and looks more like a reddish patch or bump that slowly enlarges and may bleed.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma looks like a thick warty growth and can also be a red bump that raises up and is tender.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma can be found anywhere on the body but sun exposed areas, like the face, legs, and arms are common places to find Squamous Cell Carcinoma. Squamous Cell Carcinoma can be aggressive and can spread beyond the skin to other organs making it more dangerous than Basal Cell Carcinoma.
Malignant Melanoma is less common than the other two but has a higher mortality rate if not caught early. The key to curing skin cancer is detecting it early and removing it from the skin to prevent the cancer from spreading internally.
Malignant Melanoma (Frequently Asked Questions)
What is malignant melanoma?
Malignant melanoma is a serious skin cancer that arises in moles or in the tanning cells of the skin. In its early stages, when it can be easily treated, the disease is not life threatening. In later stages, malignant melanoma spreads or “metastasizes” to other parts of the body. At this point, treatment is not always successful. People at high risk of developing the disease are those who have:
- a family history of melanoma, or who have had a melanoma in the past.
- unusual moles on the skin, or changing moles.
- fair skin, light hair and eye color, and who sunburn easily or tan with difficulty.
- a record of painful or blistering sunburns as children or teenagers.
- outdoor occupations and recreational habits.
How do I tell the difference between a normal mole and melanoma?
Regular self-examination is the best way to become familiar with the many moles and spots on the skin. With the help of a family member or friend, you should examine your skin, including hard-to-see areas (mouth, back, scalp, buttocks, etc.) Common moles and malignant melanomas do not look alike. You should inspect your moles and pay special attention to their sizes, shapes, edges and color. A handy way to remember these features is to think A-B-C and D – for Asymmetry, Border, Color and Diameter. Any one of these warning signs or other changes in the skin – itchiness, redness, swelling, softening, hardening – should prompt a visit to your physician. Remember the ABCD and E of self-examination. With malignant melanoma, early detection and treatment make the difference.
Some forms of early malignant melanoma are asymmetrical, meaning, a line drawn through the middle will not create matching halves. Common moles are round and symmetrical.
The borders of early melanomas are frequently uneven, often containing scalloped or notched edges. Common moles have smooth, even borders.
Different shades of brown or black are often the first sign of a malignant melanoma. Common moles usually have a single shade of brown.
Common moles are usually less than 6 mm in diameter (1/4″), the size of a pencil eraser. Early melanomas tend to be larger than 6 mm
any mole that is changing, particularly getting larger and turning black
*Click Here for the Body Mole Map from the American Academy of Dermatology.