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Skin Cancer Screenings

Understanding Skin Cancer

Understanding Skin Cancer

When dealing with the possibility of cancer, the most important rule to remember is that it is better to be safe than to be sorry. We want to give you the tools to better understand any possible conditions you might be facing. However, it is still essential to be seen by a medical professional if a lesion has any chance of being or becoming a skin cancer.

Cancer is a high-stakes disease. It is best to play it safe and see your dermatologist early and often. If you notice something suspicious at home, you can employ the American Academy of Dermatology’s ABCDE guide to assess whether the growth could be cancerous.

Ask Yourself The Following Questions

  • Asymmetry — Is the mole a different size or shape on either side?

  • Border — Are the borders of the mole irregular or poorly defined?

  • Color — Does the mole have multiple colors or odd discoloration?

  • Diameter — Is the mole larger than 6 millimeters in diameter?

  • Evolving — Has the mole evolved or changed shape, color or size?

If any of these conditions occur, please make an appointment to see one of our dermatologists right away. The doctor may do a biopsy of the mole to determine if it is or isn't cancerous and/or may surgically remove it.


Atypical Moles

When we talk about atypical moles, we are usually referring to moles that fail the ABCDE test above. Although these moles may be benign, they should be examined by a dermatologist and you should schedule regular check-ups. Individuals who have atypical moles are at an increased risk of developing melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is not only the most common type of skin cancer, but also the most frequently occurring form of all cancers. With over 4 million cases diagnosed each year, this cancer is most often identified by lightly colored growths, red patches of skin or open sores that do not heal.

Basal cell carcinoma is often mistaken for psoriasis or eczema. Because it can be challenging to diagnose yourself, scheduling regular appointments with your dermatologist helps ensure that no suspicious blemishes go undetected.

Diabetes-Related Skin Diseases

Diabetes and prediabetes affect over 100 million people in the United States. With such a wide reach, it’s no surprise that diabetes is linked to an equally vast range of skin health concerns, including acanthosis nigricans, diabetic blisters, diabetic dermopathy, digital sclerosis, disseminated granuloma annulare, vitiligo and many, many more.


Melanoma is an extremely dangerous skin cancer that develops in the skin's pigment-producing cells (melanocytes). The first signs of melanoma are usually changes in an existing mole or the development of a new pigmented or unusual-looking lesion. Melanomas do not always begin as moles. They can occur on skin that otherwise appears normal.

Many factors increase the likelihood that you will develop a melanoma in your lifetime, including excessive sunburning or UV light exposure, fair skin, living at a higher elevation or near the equator, family history or a weakened immune system.

Precancerous Skin Lesions

Early detection is critical for any form of cancer. When a precancerous skin lesion is identified before it has time to grow and take root in your anatomy, the likelihood of serious complications declines significantly.

There are multiple types of precancerous skin lesions, including actinic keratosis and actinic cheilitis, which primarily affect the body and lips, respectively. Understanding risk factors and how to spot a lesion that could become cancerous is your best defense against skin cancer. We have developed a guide to give you important information about various types of precancerous lesions.

Pregnancy-Related Skin Conditions

There are several common pregnancy-related skin conditions. Pruritic urticarialpapules and plaques of pregnancy, often referred to by the acronym PUPPP, presents in about one percent of pregnant women. It is a chronic hives-like rash of red, itchy bumps that frequently begins on the abdomen before spreading elsewhere.

Prurigo of pregnancy is a benign itchy rash that resembles a cluster of insect bites and can occur anywhere on the body. Pemphigoid gestationis is a rare itchy eruption that escalates from a minor rash to larger lesions that blister and swell. Most pregnancy-related skin conditions resolve after birth and only require symptomatic treatment.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common form of skin cancer. SCC occurs when exposure to UV radiation or other damaging agents triggers abnormal changes in the squamous cells. The resulting lesions can appear as scaly red patches, raised growths with a central depression, open sores or rough, thickened or wart-like skin. SCCs may crust over, itch or bleed.

When caught early, this cancer can usually be treated, but it is important to stay vigilant about early detection. Lesions that are allowed to grow can become disfiguring, spread to other parts of the body and become deadly.

Skin Cancer Screenings

Are You Interested In Dermatological Services To Help Your Skin?

Arming yourself with this information is a valuable tool to cancer detection, but no matter how well you understand each of these conditions, it is vital that you are seen by a qualified dermatologist who can conduct a full examination of your condition.

If you are ready for a cancer screening that could possibly catch a cancer diagnosis early on in the process, give Coastal Dermatology and Medspa a call as soon as possible. Contact or call us today in Jacksonville, Florida, at 904-727-9123 or nearby Ponte Vedra Beach at 904-567-1050 to schedule a consultation.

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