Health Watch - The Summer Outdoors: Skin Cancer

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.

This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about protecting your health while enjoying sunny summer days outdoors. Previously, we discussed how important it is to protect your skin from the sun. If you haven’t always been diligent about using sunscreen, you need to monitor your skin for any suspicious spots that could indicate skin cancer.

You should inspect your skin regularly, but not every spot or mole needs to be tested by a doctor. Dr. Clay Cockerell, a skin cancer expert at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says there are certain danger signs to look for. One danger sign is asymmetry – when moles don’t look the same on each side. Another bad sign is mole borders that are jagged, irregular or blurry. Also look for inconsistent colors – darker areas, multiple colors or changing colors.

Moles that are larger than the head of a pencil eraser are suspicious, as are lesions of any size that change in appearance. If you notice any of these signs in old moles or new blemishes, see a doctor.


July 2010

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