TEAMING UP TO BEAT SKIN CANCER

Improve Your Odds With Monthly Home Exams AND Fully Body Skin Checks at Midwest Dermatology

Most coaches know the value of repetition.  By going through a play over and over, players learn almost instinctively how to improve their success.  By performing a monthly skin exam at home, you will get to know your skin, and easily spot signs of something suspicious.  And by scheduling an annual skin exam with your Midwest Dermatology physician, you get an expert set of eyes and peace of mind.

Your Playbook For Home Exams

  1. Pick a day – any day! Make it a good one because you are going to execute your action plan on that date every month.  Maybe you will combine it with other healthy practices such as your monthly self-breast exam.  Or maybe it’s the first Saturday of every month.
  2. The Line Up.  You need a well-lit room, a wall mirror and a hand mirror to look at those spots that are hard to reach.
  3. Look for Penalty Flags. Skin cancers have warning signs.  Here’s what you should be looking for:
Melanoma:        
  • Asymmetry – Is one half of a mole a significantly different shape or size than the other side?
  • Border – Does a mole have an irregular or uneven border?
  • Color – Are any of your moles unusually colored, or have they changed color recently?
  • Diameter – Do you have moles larger around than 2 mm, which is about the size of a pencil eraser?
  • Evolving – Do you have moles that are new or that have changed significantly?
Non-Melanoma (Basal Cell and Squamous Cell Carcinoma):
  • Raised bumps or nodules
  • Non-healing pimples or sores
  • Red, scaly patches with irregular borders
  • Pink growths
  • Lesions that are shiny or pearl-like in color or appearance
  • Lesions typically occur on the face, scalp, ears, chest and back
  • Wart-like growths that bleed or crust over

Grab Your Notebook.  Keep a log of your skin lesions and moles.  Note any changes or warning signs that appear.  Contact Midwest Dermatology for an exam of any suspicious lesion.

Full Body Skin Exams – Let Your Physician Coach You to Healthy Skin

Also known as a skin cancer check or your annual skin exam, these examinations by your physician catch the earliest signs of skin cancer development.  In fact, at Midwest Dermatology we end up treating thousands of “pre-cancers” every year – skin growths and moles that have atypical cells that can progress to skin cancer.

On a scale of 1-10, scheduling your full body exam barely registers.  For starters, we have locations in Omaha, Bellevue, and Papillion, and a phone call to (402) 552-2555 gets you scheduled at any office.

For folks in Northeastern Nebraska, all of the Midwest Dermatology physicians see patients in a satellite office in Norfolk, and you can schedule an appointment there by calling (402) 371-3564.

At your appointment, you will be greeted by one of our friendly nurses, asked questions about your medical history, your family history (remember skin cancer can run in the family!) and your time in the sun.  If you have any suspicious spots, this is the time to let us know.

Your physician will provide a head-to-toe exam and if something looks atypical, they might perform a test called a shave biopsy.  A pathology test is performed to properly diagnose the lesion and you will be contacted if further treatment is necessary.

Preparing for a skin cancer screening is easy. You just have to make sure all of your skin is visible. For example, wearing your hair loose makes it easier to examine the skin of your scalp. You might consider removing your nail polish on your fingers and toes so that your nail beds can be examined. Skin cancer can affect your nails, too.

The most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone. With Midwest Dermatology, you can put yourself in the best position to beat skin cancer.