How To Spot Skin Cancer: What You Need To Know

2022-11-03T21:09:16.466Z

Apostrophe

Slather - How To Spot Skin Cancer: What You Need To Know

A blog article written for Slather, Apostrophe's blog, entitled How To Spot Skin Cancer: What You Need To Know

Aimee PaikDoctorateDegreeAmerican Board of DermatologyBoard Certified DermatologistChief Medical OfficerDermatologist100A dermatologist is a doctor who specializes in conditions involving the skin, hair, and nails. A dermatologist can identify and treat more than 3,000 conditions. These conditions include eczema, psoriasis, and skin cancer, among many others.
California

Apostrophe

Dermatology

2022-11-03T21:09:16.466Z
Group CopyCreated with Sketch.
Slather Blog LogoBlack words on clear background depicting the word `"`Slather`"`.
search-512Created with Sketch.

General

How To Spot Skin Cancer: What You Need To Know

Slather post photo
Slather post photo

General

How To Spot Skin Cancer: What You Need To Know

Medically reviewed by Aimee Paik, MD

Written by Apostrophe Team

Last updated 11/4/2022

May is Skin Cancer Prevention Month! With summer right around the corner, now is the best time to brush up on your sun protection practices and learn how you can spot potential problems early (if you want to learn more about how UV radiation can damage the skin and increase your risk of melanoma, check out this post on aging).

Melanoma: What you need to know

The American Cancer Society reports that melanoma only accounts for 1% of skin cancers, but causes a large majority of skin cancer deaths. They estimate that in 2019 in the United States approximately 96,480 people will be diagnosed with melanoma and 7,320 people will die of melanoma.

Race and age are both big risk factors for skin cancer. White Americans are about 20 times more likely than black Americans to be diagnosed with melanoma. Overall, the lifetime risk of getting melanoma is about 2.6% for white individuals, 0.1% black individuals, and 0.58% (1 in 172) for Hispanic individuals. The average age of people who are diagnosed is 63, but it’s important to note that melanoma is one of the most common cancers in young adults under the age of 30.


ACNE-SAFE SUNSCREEN

The perfect complement to prescription acne treatments.


Early diagnosis is key

Five year relative survival rates show that treatment is far more successful if melanoma is caught and treated early. A relative survival rate compares people of the same age and type of cancer to people in the overall population. The five year relative survival rate for early stage melanoma of the skin is 98% which means that people who have that cancer are, on average, about 98% as likely as people who don’t have that cancer to live for at least five years after being diagnosed (for a deeper dive, click through to our source here). The chart below illustrates the dip in relative survivability from early stage to later stage melanoma:

Ugly duckling – not just a kids’ story

The American Academy of Dermatology has a guide to checking your own skin for cancerous moles and lesions. They say to keep an eye out for the ABCDEs of melanoma:

  • A – Asymmetry: One half of the spot is unlike the other half.

  • B – Border: The spot has an irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.

  • C – Color: The spot has varying colors from one area to the next, such as shades of tan, brown, or black, or with areas of white, red, or blue.

  • D – Diameter: Melanomas are usually greater than 6mm, or about the size of a pencil eraser when they are diagnosed, but they can be smaller.

  • E – Evolving: A mole or spot on your skin that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.

While this mnemonic is very descriptive, it can be hard to apply in practice. A good shorthand is to look for the “ugly duckling” lesion. The lesion that stands out as different from the rest and is changing should be checked out.

To thoroughly check your skin, follow these steps:

  1. Raise the arms and examine the right and left sides of the body.

  2. Then bend your elbows and look carefully at your forearms and upper underarms.

  3. Next, examine the back of your legs and spaces between your toes and your soles.

  4. Then, examine those hard‐to see areas like your back, buttocks, and the top of your head. Use a mirror to inspect the back of your neck and scalp, parting your hair for a better view.


DERM-APPROVED SPF

Get our best-selling sunscreen that's safe for sensitive and acne-prone skin.


A word from a derm

We want to give one of our partner dermatologists the last word on skin cancer. See what Dr. George Skandamis has to say about prevention and self-checks below!

“Spotting skin cancer can be difficult and often relies on a board certified dermatologists’ extensive training to see subtle clues in a cancerous lesion. For people at home, it is important to ‘get to know your skin.’ Plan to look over all of your skin once a month, taking note of any moles, growths, bumps or sores. If you develop a new or growing spot or any change in the spot’s color, these could be signs of skin cancer. Another common symptom of skin cancer is a sore that has trouble healing and may often bleed. Ultimately a suspicious spot needs to be biopsied to confirm the diagnosis of skin cancer.”

1. Cancers That Develop in Young Adults. American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-in-young-adults/cancers-in-young-adults.html. Accessed May 1, 2019. 2. How to check your skin for skin cancer. How to check your skin for skin cancer | American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/media/news-releases/how-to-check-your-skin-for-skin-cancer. Published October 9, 2012. Accessed May 2, 2019. 3. Key Statistics for Melanoma Skin Cancer. American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/melanoma-skin-cancer/about/key-statistics.html. Accessed May 1, 2019. 4. Survival Rates for Melanoma Skin Cancer. American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/melanoma-skin-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/survival-rates-for-melanoma-skin-cancer-by-stage.html#written_by. Accessed May 1, 2019.

Like what you just read? Sign up for our email list to get the scoop on skincare science delivered straight to your inbox.
Email IconBlack outline of an evnvelope at a 45 degree angle.
Group 9Created with Sketch.

General

Vitamin E Oil for Skin Health


Read More

General

Wrinkles In Men


Read More

General

How to Remove Acne Scars Naturally


Read More

General

Vitamin E Oil for Skin Health

What is vitamin E oil and what are the benefits of it? Read more to find out!

Read More

General

Wrinkles In Men

In this article, we’re exploring the causes of wrinkles in men, what types of wrinkles are the most common and prevention and treatment options to keep your face youthful for as long as possible.

Read More

General

How to Remove Acne Scars Naturally

Read on to learn ways you can possibly remove or reduce acne scars naturally, along with ways to prevent acne from occurring in the first place.

Read More

sign up for our newsletter here

Group 9Created with Sketch.
Email Icon LightTan outline of an evnvelope at a 45 degree angle.

Apostrophe's Products

Apostrophe's Service

Education

Deep Dives

Apostrophe LogoLarge black A with the bottom left point turned into an apostrophe.