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Skin Cancer: Symptoms & Prevention

Skin Cancer Awareness RibbonSkin is the largest organ in the body, so keeping it healthy is a must. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. So, what are the skin cancer symptoms you should keep an eye out for?


Although most skin growths are benign, any new change on the skin may be an early sign of skin cancer (melanoma or non-melanoma), especially a change in size, color, shape or texture of a skin growth. You should also keep an eye on any open or inflamed skin wound that won't heal. Early detection is a key factor in the successful treatment of skin cancer, so any suspicious change on the skin should be brought to a dermatologist's attention immediately.

An easy way to remember the signs of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, is the ABCDEs: Asymmetry, irregular Borders, changes in Color, Diameter larger than a pencil eraser, Evolution of a mole's characteristics, whether it be size, shape, color, elevation, bleeding, itching or crusting.  There are some steps you can take that may help you prevent skin cancer.


Even though ultraviolet light exposure is the leading cause of skin cancer, it is also the most preventable. When enjoying the outdoors, even on a cloudy day, follow these tips from the American Cancer Society to protect your skin:

  • Apply a generous amount of sunscreen (with a SPF of 15 or higher) before heading outdoors and reapply every 2 hours
  • Seek shade as often as possible, especially when the sun's rays are strong in the middle of the day
  • Wear protective clothing such as a wide-brimmed hat or long sleeve shirt
  • Avoid other sources of UV light, such as tanning beds, at all costs
  • Get regular skin cancer screenings

Free Skin Cancer Screening

Drexel Dermatology will be offering FREE skin cancer screenings on Thursday, May 24, from 9:00 – 11:30 a.m. on the 4th floor of The Arnold T. Berman, M.D. Building (219 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia) as part of a public service campaign to heighten awareness of this disease and to encourage people to get regular screenings.

Drexel Dermatology offers comprehensive services for all skin care conditions including skin cancer, cosmetic dermatology, moles and birthmarks, pediatric dermatology, and any other skin related concerns. To schedule an appointment with a Drexel Dermatologist, please call 1-866-DREXEL2 (373-9352).

The information on these pages is provided for general information only and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment, or as a substitute for consultation with a physician or health care professional. If you have specific questions or concerns about your health, you should consult your health care professional.


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