Posts for tag: skin cancer
How your dermatologist in Chicago, IL, can help if you have skin cancer
If you are someone that spends a lot of time outside, it’s only natural to worry about skin cancer. Here at North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, IL, Dr. Elizabeth N. Fahrenbach offers several effective ways to treat skin cancer and help protect your health.
Read on to learn the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on the topic:
What types of skin cancer are there?
The most common types of skin cancer include squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma, both of which are easily treatable. Malignant melanoma is another type of skin cancer, although unlike the others, it can end up being fatal. Fortunately, it is less common.
Who is most at risk for skin cancer?
In general, people with fair skin and blue eyes are more at risk for skin cancer. Additionally, those who spend extended periods of time outdoors or have already had bouts of skin cancer, are at an increased risk of developing the condition
How can I protect myself against skin cancer?
Wearing sunscreen daily is the best way to prevent skin cancer. You should wear an SPF of at least 15 every day, and SPF 30 if you spend a lot of time outdoors. You should also try to stay out of direct sunlight between 10 AM and 4 PM, which is when the ultraviolet rays are the most damaging. Another important way to protect yourself is to check your skin for moles and abnormal areas of skin.
What should I look for when I examine my skin?
You should look for moles that have:
- A diameter greater than 6 millimeters
- An irregular, poorly-defined shape
- Ragged, uneven borders or look asymmetrical
- Bleeding, oozing, or open sores
- Regrown after previous removal
Concerned? Give us a call
To learn more about skin cancer and effective treatments including cryosurgery, excision, Mohs micrographic surgery, and other state-of-the-art treatments, call Dr. Elizabeth N. Fahrenbach at North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, IL, today—our number is (773) 763-6000.
Do you examine your moles regularly? Seemingly minor changes in a mole can be a sign of melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer. Fortunately, a mole check from your Chicago, IL, dermatologist, Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach, can help you protect your health.
How does a mole change if I have skin cancer?
You may notice one or more of these signs if your mole is cancerous:
- Your mole changes color: Color changes, whether they affect the entire mole or just part of it, are a cause for concern. Let your Chicago dermatologist know if your mole is getting darker or if it has become red, pink, blue, white, black or another color.
- Your mole doesn't look the same: If you think that your mole used to be smaller or more symmetrical, you're probably right. Moles that change over time must be examined. If you think that your mole is larger than before, see that one half doesn't match the other, or notice that the borders of the mole are now blurred, rough, or irregular, schedule a mole check.
- You have a large mole: Moles that are larger than the size of the eraser at the end of your pencil are more likely to become cancerous.
- Your mole is painful or uncomfortable. Moles that bleed, itch, crust over, or ooze fluids should be examined promptly.
How do dermatologists treat suspicious moles?
Your skin doctor will remove your mole and send it a laboratory for testing. Before the mole is removed, a local anesthetic will be applied to your skin to ensure that you don't feel any pain during the minor procedure.
If the mole is cancerous, some of the cancerous cells may have penetrated deeper into your skin and will need to be removed. In some cases, Mohs surgery, an innovative surgical procedure that removes skin layer-by-layer and causes minimal scarring, may be recommended. Depending on the stage of the cancer, other treatments may include immunotherapy, targeted therapy, chemotherapy, or radiation treatment.
Do you need a mole check? Call your Chicago, IL, dermatologist, Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach at (773) 763-6000 to schedule an appointment, today!
Can you develop skin cancer? If you are over 40 and have experienced a lot of sun exposure, you likely can, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. Don't worry, though—just be vigilant about checking your skin for cancer, and see your Chicago, IL dermatologist, Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach, at North Branch Dermatology every year or at any time you're concerned about a spot or mole.
What is skin cancer?
Affecting almost 10,000 Americans with a new diagnosis every day, skin cancer is an overgrowth of abnormal cells in the epidermis and dermis, the top and second layers of the largest organ in our bodies. While we all have variations in texture and pigmentation as we age, skin cancers look and act in specific ways which signal danger.
The most common skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma, followed by squamous cell carcinoma. Detected in their earliest stages, these malignancies slowly spread, or metastasize, and they are highly curable. A third type, malignant melanoma, is more insidious and dangerous, often moving quickly and undetected from the skin to major bodily organs. Actinic keratoses are precancerous growths.
What to look for
In general, spots, freckles or moles should not change in size, color, or texture. That's why Dr. Fahrenbach advises you to look at your skin (a total body check) every month to know your skin well. This familiarity helps you see changes so that you can report them to your skin doctor right away.
You should also call North Branch Dermatology's Chicago office if you have a spot, freckle or mole which:
- Is sore, lumpy, or bleeding
- Itches intensely
- Changes, particularly when you compare it similar spots
- Is located under a toenail or fingernail
Dr. Fahrenbach asks her patients to apply a common sense way to evaluate skin lesions. It uses the mnemonic ABCDE. When you look at a spot or mole, think of:
- Asymmetry: Changes in size and shape, particularly toward one side of a mole, which may indicate cancer.
- Border: Cancerous borders, or edges, may be scalloped or notched.
- Color: Most moles are brown, black or tan. Specks, streaks or odd colors, such as red or blue, are danger signs.
- Diameter: A healthy mole is no larger than a pencil eraser (<6 millimeters).
- Evolution: Any change in a spot's size, color, shape, or how it feels should be reported to your skin doctor.
Your healthiest skin through prevention
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that you respect the sun and its power to damage your skin. To protect yourself, please apply an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and avoid tanning and sunburns. Remember, sun exposure is cumulative—so the more you're exposed over the years, the greater your chances are of developing precancerous conditions or skin cancer itself.
Find out more
Please call North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, IL to arrange your total body skin check. Between you and your dermatologist, you can track changes over time and avoid dangerous skin malignancies. Call today: (773) 763-6000.
Find out what to be on the lookout for when it comes to change in your skin.
Skin cancer can happen to anyone. If you are someone who has had bad sunburns in the past, if you have a family history of skin cancer or if you have a lot of freckles then you may be concerned about the health of your skin. Our Chicago dermatologist, Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach, is here to tell you what you should be looking out for when it comes to suspicious moles and how to protect your skin.
Here’s what should tip you off that something is wrong with a mole and that you need to visit our Chicago skin doctor right away:
- A mole that bleeds or is red and irritated
- Moles that are larger than a pencil eraser
- Moles that do not have clear, defined borders
- Moles that contain multiple colors
- Moles that are painful or itchy
One of the best rules of thumb for detecting skin cancer is to look at your moles and perform a thorough evaluation. You should do this at least once a month to make sure that if there are any changes that you are able to catch them right away and get the issue checked out before it becomes serious. And, if all else fails, remember your ABCDs…
- A: Asymmetry—Healthy moles will be completely even and symmetrical on all sides
- B: Border—Healthy moles will have a clearly defined and even border
- C: Color—Healthy moles won’t change colors or contain more than one color
- D: Diameter—Healthy moles tend to be rather small while melanoma is often much larger
- E: Elevated—Healthy moles aren’t typically raised
How to Protect Your Skin
One of the best things you can do to protect the health of your skin is to apply sunscreen every day about 20 minutes before going outside. Opt for a sunscreen that will protect against both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of at least 15 or higher. Make sure that you reapply sunscreen every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating. If you aren’t sure which kind of sunscreen is right for you or you have questions about how to properly apply it then don’t hesitate to ask us. We are here to protect your skin against the harmful effects of the sun’s rays.
If you noticing any changes in your skin that have you concerned then it’s time you turned to North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, IL to get a full skin cancer evaluation. Don’t ignore the health of your skin. This simple evaluation could just end up saving your life.
There are several dermatological issues to look out for that could be signs of a problem, such as skin cancer. Developing rashes or experiencing changes in the size or shape of existing moles can all be warning signs of a potential health concern. At North Branch Dermatology in Chicago, Dr. Elizabeth Fahrenbach can examine your skin for signs of a problem, make a diagnosis and recommend an appropriate treatment.
Skin cancer is something everyone hopes to avoid. Unfortunately, it is the most common type of cancer in the United States. One out of five people in the U.S. will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Early detection is the best way to ensure that cancer does not spread, as well as improve the odds of beating it. Cancer is easier to detect when you know what to look for. Warning signs associated with three of the most common types of skin cancer are as follows.
- Melanoma — Warning signs include new moles, changes in existing moles, a lump or a new spot on the skin that is brown, black, pink or blue in color.
- Basal Cell Carcinoma — Warning signs include brown scaly patches and white waxy lumps on areas of the skin regularly exposed to the sun, such as the face and neck.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma — Warning signs include the development of scaly patches, lumps or ulcers on the skin.
Rashes and itchy, scaly patches of inflamed skin due to psoriasis, eczema or skin allergies can be uncomfortable and unsightly. It is important to see a dermatologist about any type of rash to verify that it is not due to a more serious condition. Additionally, a dermatologist can prescribe the right type of treatment to alleviate any itching or discomfort associated with the rash. Further, a dermatologist can best advise you on how to prevent the rash from spreading to other areas of the body.
Most adults have at least one mole on their body and in most cases, moles are harmless. However, some moles can become cancerous, particularly if they have changed in color, size or shape. Regularly examining your existing moles, as well as checking for new ones, will help you catch changes early on so that you can seek treatment before developing a serious condition. If you do notice the development of new moles or changes in existing ones, seek treatment from your Chicago dermatologist.
Regularly examining your skin for dermatological issues, such as rashes and new moles, is a good way to ensure you identify potential problems right away. If you do discover anything of concern, visit your dermatologist as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis and treatment. If you do have any concerns about rashes, moles or skin cancer, schedule an appointment with Dr. Fahrenbach at North Branch Dermatology in Chicago by calling (773) 763-6000.