West Houston Dermatology

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Skin Cancer Prevention and Awareness

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, but it is also one of the easiest to prevent and cure if detected and treated early.  Self-examinations and annual skin exams by your doctor are important to prevent skin cancer.  When patients ask board certified dermatologist, Dr. Stephen Mahoney, who should be doing self-exams, his reply is “Anyone with skin!”  A good schedule for doing your own self-exam is on the first of each month, and ask your spouse or a significant other to help check your skin in areas you cannot easily examine yourself.  Don’t forget to check between the toes!  Look out for any growth on the skin that gets larger in size.  Color is also important.  Be aware of any growth that appears pearly, translucent, black, brown, tan or multicolored.  Birthmarks and moles are normal and make use unique, but these need to be monitored too.  Watch out for any birthmark or mole that changes color, size thickness, texture, has an irregular outline, is larger than a pencil eraser, or appears after the age of 21.  Patients should also be aware of spots or sores that hurt, itch, scab or crust, or bleed; an open sore that does not heal within 2-3 weeks should also be checked out.  If you or a loved one finds a growth or wound on the skin that appears abnormal, it is very important that you contact a board certified dermatologist like West Houston Dermatology.