“Only skin deep” implies that your skin is somehow less important than what’s underneath. Did you know our skin, or integumentary system, is the largest organ in the body? This amazing organ acts as an invisible shield to protect those deeper organs from germs and trauma and other bad stuff.
Unfortunately, it’s not as indestructible as we like to pretend-it’s also vulnerable. Your skin ages as you do, becoming thinner, drier, more fragile, often lined and wrinkled. It grows paler and loses its glow and suppleness. At some point, spots and bumps appear. With skin cancer being the most common form of cancer in the U.S., prevention and early detection are more important than ever.
Basal Cell Carcinoma often starts as a white or pinkish bump. BCC grows slowly and rarely spreads to other organs. While Squamous Cell Carcinoma generally starts as a wart-like bump the size of a pea or larger. SCC can spread to internal organs. And then there’s malignant Melanoma. The deadliest of all three, and often very deceiving in the variance of its appearance. The good news is that all three can be treated successfully if caught early enough.
The Skinny on Skin Spots
- Skin tags-soft little skin-colored growths on the neck, armpit, or groin.
- Cherry angiomas-small bright-red bumps, usually on the body’s trunk.
- Solar elastosis-sagging tough skin.
The following are harmless but have dangerous look-alikes. Have them checked by a dermatologist:
- Age spots/liver spots-darkened spots on your face, hands, back, and feet.
- Seborrheic keratoses-wart-like or waxy, yellow, brown, or black; large or small.
- Actinic keratoses-slightly raised, rough, dry, and scaly spots on areas exposed to the sun.
Easy as ABCD
Melanoma can develop anywhere on the skin, but it often starts on a mole or other dark spot. Watch for these signs:
- Asymmetry-where two halves of the mole don’t match.
- Border irregularity-where the edges are blurred or jagged.
- Change-such as bleeding, oozing, scaliness, itching, or pain.
- Diameter-Is it bigger around than a kernel of corn?
Profile of a Likely Victim
Those at greater risk have:
- Fair skin, fair hair, light-colored eyes
- Certain types of moles, or many moles
- Chronic exposure to the sun
- History of sunburns early in life
- Personal history of skin cancer
- Family history of skin cancer
“It’s not just skin cancer when it’s the largest organ of your body.” Schedule an appointment with a dermatologist for a skin check NOW..