Dr. Natasha Withers: Skin cancer is surprisingly common. More than 2 million cases will be diagnosed in the US this year.
There are three basic types; Basal Cell, Squamous Cell and Melanoma. Because skin cancers can vary in appearance it's a good idea to be on the look for any abnormal growths, do a monthly skin check.
Although many skin cancers result from sun exposure, you can also get growths in areas of the skin that are always covered. As you study your skin, look for anything that seems to have grown or changed in appearance.
Assess these areas using the A, B, C, D and Es. Asymmetry, one side is different than the other. Borders; irregular or poorly defined edges. Colors, varies from one part to another, has shades of tan, black, red, white or even blue.
Diameter, bigger than the size of a pencil eraser. Evolving any areas or existing mole that is changing in size, shape or color. If any skin growth fits one or more of these profiles see your doctor.
Caught early skin cancer is treatable. The incidents of skin cancer increases with age, but it can occur at any age. To lower your risk of skin cancer limit sun exposure, wear sunscreen, and some protective clothing for prolonged outdoor activities.
Do not use tanning beds or sunlamps as these can increase the risk of melanoma by 75%. I am Dr. Natasha, live well.