15 Jul Get Help Spotting Skin Cancer
The ABCDE guidelines for identifying skin cancer are just that—guidelines. The reality is that skin cancer can look many ways, and doesn’t always present as a suspicious mole. The absolute best person to identify signs of skin cancer early so you can enjoy a fast and minimally invasive treatment that doesn’t interfere with your life is your dermatologist. At RefinedMD, Dr. Yeh sees general dermatology patients and will be the expert that will get that mole checked. Most people (of all skin tones!) should get a mole check once a year, and those with a history of skin cancer or dysplastic nevus (pre-cancerous moles) often see a dermatologist twice or more per year. However, your dermatologist isn’t the only person in your life who can help you keep an eye on moles.
It’s important to conduct a self-check to monitor moles and other changes to the skin every month. Setting a calendar reminder can help you stay abreast of any changes in between dermatology appointments. However, there are many parts of the body you can’t see yourself, such as your scalp and back. If you have a trusted loved one or friend that you can swap “mole checks” with every month, that’s a great way to make sure you don’t miss any changes while enjoying peace of mind.
But is this something others in your life can help with—like your tattoo artist or piercer?
Make Use of Potential Mole Checkers
It’s not unusual for those in the personal services industry to catch suspicious moles. Hair stylists, piercers, and tattoo artists are all professionals who have a history of helping spot moles. A small amount of stylists around the country even undergo special training in order to spot suspicious moles. However, it’s tattoo artists who spend the most amount of time staring at your skin. They’re hyper aware of moles because sometimes they incorporate these spots of melanin into their work or work around them. (By the way, if you have a history of skin cancer of dysplastic nevus, talk to your dermatologist before getting a tattoo—they may advise you on how to approach new ink).
One recent incident of a tattoo artist catching skin cancer happened in Alabama. Josh Gargalione has been tattooing clients for nearly two decades, and he makes a point to check the condition of skin before getting to work. “You’re looking for abnormal growths or any moles that seem to be discolored, anything unusual,” he explained to a local news station. “I’ve come across it two times to where it was actually alarming, where I had to say something to the customer.” Not every customer will actually follow up with their dermatologist, as Josh urges them to do, and of course he doesn’t have a way of knowing whether a customer takes his advice. However, one of those customers returned to let Josh know he possibly saved his life.
“That one got checked out, yes it was cancerous,” he says. “They got it just in time before it metastasized. They had no idea and they in fact came back to me and gave me a present and said thank you … you know you save someone’s life.” Approximately one in five Americans will have some type of skin cancer before they turn 70, but the vast majority of people do not see their dermatologist annually for a skin check. It’s estimated that about 200,000 new cases of melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer—develop every year. Josh is especially aware about skin cancer risks because his father had skin cancer on his ear and shoulder removed. “It’s our responsibility to tell our customers the condition of their skin because then you literally have their back. You’re tattooing their back, you can see areas that they can’t.”
RefinedMD Has YOUR Back
It’s fantastic when you have others in your life helping to keep you safe, but taking control of your own health and well-being begins with scheduling routine mole checks. Simultaneously, remember that it’s not too late to adopt a better sun protection routine. UV damage is by far the leading cause of skin cancer, and it’s important to protect yourself daily. Medical-grade broadband sunscreen is available at RefinedMD and using these products let you rest easy knowing you’re doing something to prevent future skin cancer. For more information on sunscreen or to schedule your mole check with Dr. Yeh, call RefinedMD at (408) 688-2082.