Summer months are usually when we’re hyper aware of protecting our skin from damaging rays.
However, even a spring days are a good reminder to self-examine for any potential skin concerns.
Not only is now a good time to check your moles for melanoma risks, but at the Goshen Center for Cancer Care they’re implementing new therapies to treat melanoma if you have any concerns.
“Unfortunately, melanoma doesn’t discriminate. You’re at risk for it the young and the old. I recommend skin checks starting at a very early age,” says Dr. Sachin Agarwal, medical oncologist at Goshen Center for Cancer Care.
All you need to know for skin checks is your ABC’s, and possibly enlisting some help checking moles on your skin.
Dr. Agarwal says:
- A is for asymmetry; each half a mole should look the same.
- B is for border; they should be even.
- C is color; there shouldn’t be any dark black spots or multiple colors.
- D is diameter; moles shouldn’t be bigger than the diameter of a pencil.
- E is for evolving; the mole shouldn’t change size, shape or color.
“The number one thing is to protect your skin, and your eyes. There’s a condition called ocular melanoma, as well. Basically, you should wear sun glasses, hats, sunscreen. Usually I recommend SPF or sun protection factor of 50 or more for sunscreen,” he explains.
Dr. Agarwal says people at risk for developing melanoma are those exposed to Ultra violet rays, fair-skinned people, or anyone with a family history.
He says if you catch it early, melanoma is treatable.
At the Goshen Center for Cancer Care, they have updated method to treat melanoma, called immunotherapy.
“They try to activate our own immune system to find the melanoma cells and kill them. So, it’s a very targeted therapy and that it’s meant only to kill the cancer cells, and affect our normal body cells,” says Dr. Agarwal.
Dr. Agarwal recommends doing a thorough skin check on yourself at least once a month.