Dermatologist - Denver
155 S. Madison St, Ste. 226
Denver, CO 80209
(303) 322-7789

All kinds of skin cancer melanoma or not can be very destructive if left untreated. But if you can identify a potential cancer while it's still small, the cure rate is high. That's why your first, best defense against skin cancer is frequent self-exams. A few minutes with a mirror could save your life. 

Reducing Your Risks

Sun exposure increases your risk of getting skin cancer, especially if you have fair skin. Even one sunburn during childhood significantly raises your lifetime risk. The good news is that sun exposure is something you can control. Just follow a few simple rules:

  • Limit your exposure during peak hours, 10 A.M. to 4 P.M. Stay in the shade & plan your outside activities for the cooler morning or evening.
  • Wear sunscreen, or a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves, or both. Every day. Even on cloudy days and in the winter.
  • Protect the kids. Most people get 80% of their lifetime sun exposure before age 18.

How to Perform A Self Screen

The best time to check yourself for skin cancer is after a bath or shower. If you do it the same day every month, you'll develop a habit that could save your life.

Stand in front of a full-length mirror. Have a handheld mirror, too, so you can see your back. Pay special attention to the areas where you get the most sun, but remember that melanoma can appear anywhere, even on the soles of your feet or other areas that have never seen the sun.

Start at the top of your head. Part your hair to check your scalp, and use the hand mirror to look at the back of your neck and ears.

Slowly work your way all the way down your front, to the tips of your toes.

Then use the mirrors to look at your back, from neck to toes. Remember to check your buttocks, the backs of your knees, and the soles of your feet.

Look carefully down the right side of your body, then the left side. Bend your elbows to examine your forearms, underarms, and palms.

Examine your body front and back in the mirror, then right and left sides with arms raised.
Bend elbows and look carefully at forearms, upper underarms and palms.

Look at the backs of your legs and feet, the spaces between your toes and on the sole.

 

Examine the backs of your neck
and scalp with a hand mirror.
Part hair for a closer look.
Finally, check your back and
buttocks with a hand mirror.

 

What to Look For


Changes:
If a mole looks just like it has for the last 20 years, it's probably benign. The most important thing to look for is a change: a new spot, a mole that is growing or changing color, a sore that doesn't heal.

The ABCD's of melanoma, the form of skin cancer that is most likely to metastasize, or spread all over your body:

  • Asymmetry a spot that's irregular, instead of being round.
     
  • Border an uneven border, or a ragged edge.
     
  • Color uneven color, with different shades of black and brown.
     
  • Diameter larger than a pencil eraser.
A

B

C

D

 

Other forms of skin cancer can also take different appearances:

  • A red, scaly patch (large or small) that won't clear up or keeps coming back.
     
  • A skin-colored bump that grows slowly.
     
  • A sore that won't heal.
     
  • A "growing scar" a firm, recessed spot, either skin-colored or lighter.


Melanomas and non-melanoma cancers can be either raised or flat.

The most important thing is to be familiar with your own skin and recognize changes when they occur. If you see any new, growing, or odd-looking moles, contact us right away for an appointment.

If you are unsure or think you might have a mole that concerns you, please call us and schedule an appointment today
(303) 322-7789.