Common Causes and Symptoms of Moles that May Indicate Skin Cancer

May 30, 2019

skin cancer

At Dermatology Associates of Northern Virginia, now a part of U.S. Dermatology Partners,  we are dedicated to assisting patients in the Centreville area with their skin care concerns. Centreville, VA area patients can visit a dermatologist who can explain the causes, symptoms, and signs of skin cancer to provide patients with the information they need to know when to see a professional for an evaluation.

What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer is a type of cancer that is easy to spot and simple to treat. It is an area of cancerous cells that develop on the skin and are visible. The cause of skin cancer is typically over-exposure to ultraviolet rays. These are found in sunlight and in tanning beds. We encourage patients to take care of their skin with the use of sunscreen every day and by avoiding direct sunlight during the peak hours when UV rays are at their worst. We also want our patients to know the importance of routine skin cancer screenings.

Why should I schedule a screening?

Skin cancer can develop in new or existing growths on the skin. By monitoring changes in the skin or in current growths such as moles, we can provide patients with a way to check for potential areas of concern. Moles may change in shape, size, or color, which can indicate an area of skin cancer. During a screening, the dermatologist will evaluate a patient from head to toe, looking for lesions and growths that may be indicative of cancer.

skin cancerWill I experience symptoms with skin cancer?

Typically, no. The only symptoms or signs of skin cancer may be changes in specific areas of the skin including moles, growths, skin tags, or other lesions.

What are the signs of skin cancer?

The typical sign of skin cancer is a lesion on the skin that changes in:

• Shape
• Color
• Size

Therefore, routine skin cancer screenings are encouraged for patients, because these changes occur over time and are often caught with regular monitoring. During skin cancer screenings, the dermatologist will be able to monitor any areas of concern. Checking the size and shape of a mole one visit, and comparing it a year later to determine if there have been any changes that may indicate an issue. This is essential for catching areas of cancerous cells early for appropriate intervention.

What types of treatments are available for patients with skin cancer in Centreville, VA?

Our practice offers a few options for patients who have been diagnosed with skin cancer via a positive biopsy:

• Cryosurgery
• Excision
• Chemotherapy
• Referrals for Mohs micrographic surgery

Preventative tips

There are several ways patients can protect themselves from developing skin cancer. Here are just a few tips we can provide for patients to follow in reducing their risk of having a problem in the future:

• Avoid sun exposure at the worst times of day, which are between 10 am in the morning and 4 pm in the afternoon.
• Do not burn your skin with sun exposure.
• Cover up the skin to protect it with long-sleeved clothing, hats, sunglasses, and the use of broad-spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF of 15 or higher.
• Use sunscreen every day, and reapply every two hours or immediately after getting out of the water or sweating excessively.
• Keep newborn babies out of the sun, and start using sunscreen on babies over the age of six months old.
• Schedule an annual skin cancer screening with a dermatologist to look for early indications of skin cancer.

If you are interested in learning more about the services and treatments we offer, contact Dermatology Associates of Northern Virginia Centreville. We assist patients of all ages in our state-of-the-art facility. We provide medical and cosmetic dermatology solutions to men and women at both our Centreville and Sterling locations. Our Centreville location can be reached at (703) 222-2773 and is conveniently located in Suite #301 at 13880 Braddock Road. We accept new patients who are ready for quality, comprehensive dermatological care.

Click here to Request a Consultation Online at our Centreville Location!

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