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How to Spot Skin Cancer

“Cancer” is a frightening word but early detection can greatly reduce the risk of cancer spreading or growing. With skin cancer, early detection is relatively easy but many people still fail to realize the risks of ignoring strange growths, spots, or discolorations. If more people practiced self-exams, the dangers of undiagnosed skin cancer would be greatly mitigated. It’s important to find and face potential skin cancers in order to survive this common but deadly disease. Here are some tips from the expert senior home care providers in Summit, NJ from Home Care Assistance:

How to Check

Self-exams are critical for spotting skin cancer early and early detection is the best way to stop dangerous growths from spreading to other parts of the body. Older adults should enlist the help of a trusted relative or in-home Summit caregiver to examine their skin on a monthly basis. People who have high risk factors or who have had skin cancer in the past should consider even more frequent exams. Skin cancer can develop anywhere on the body but it is more likely to occur in places that are hard to spot, like on the scalp, back, and neck.

Track your Skin’s Changes

Skin cancer can appear as a variety of marks, discolorations, or bumps on the skin. Not every new freckle or growth is cancerous, but all adults would do well to get help keeping track of any new spots or growths. You or a caregiver can use the online chart at to keep track of a mole or discoloration’s changes for as little as $4 a month. Generally, the signs that cancer may be present will be in the growth itself, and in how the growth changes from week to week or month to month.

What to Look For

Take note of the ABCDE Method of detection. This is a convenient way to remember the various visual aspects that suggest skin cancer.

  • A is for “asymmetry.” If the mark or growth is misshapen rather than perfectly round, it is a sign of possible skin cancer.
  • B for “border” indicates that if any sign of the edges of the discoloration or growth are ragged, it is important to seek a professional’s opinion.
  • C stands for “color.” When the color of a marking or growth is uneven, it is another possible sign of cancer.
  • D to remember “diameter”; any change in size, especially an increase, should require a visit to the doctor.
  • E for “evolving” further emphasizes that any changes in the growth or discoloration should necessitate a visit to the dermatologist.

It is important to have help in keeping track of potential cancers such as melanoma, as delay of treatment is one of the biggest dangers. Photo documenting of any spots as well as getting the second opinion of a loved one or caregiver who can help in examination is the first and most crucial step in ensuring skin cancer doesn’t spread.

For information on how an hourly or live-in caregiver in Summit can help with skin cancer monitoring, transportation to appointments, and many more tasks associated with daily living, call 908.450.9400. We’d be happy to answer any questions either by phone or during a free in-home consultation.