Detecting skin cancer as early as possible is the key to increasing the likelihood of successful treatment. It is for this reason that Dr. Goldenberg always stresses to his patients the importance of being informed of the signs and symptoms associated with the disease. It’s recommended that all adults have a full skin examination once yearly. Patients at high risk, or those with history of skin cancer or dysplastic nevi (abnormal moles), need even more frequent visits. Regularly checking yourself for skin cancer through an at-home screening is also important. While everyone should screen themselves regularly, there are some individuals who have an increased risk of getting skin cancer and should therefore screen themselves more frequently.
Though skin cancer sometimes develops spontaneously, there are several risk factors that can increase one’s chances of developing the condition. These risk factors include:
Dr. Goldenberg knows firsthand that being aware of these risk factors can potentially be the difference between life and death. He cannot stress enough the importance of applying a protective layer of sunscreen every morning, even on cloudy days and even in the winter time. The sun’s harmful UV rays do not magically disappear just because you cannot see them.
Dr. Goldenberg recommends that each of his patients conduct a self-screening for skin cancer about once a month. The examination can be done at home, fully nude in front of a full-length mirror. Patients can check for signs themselves, or ask a relative or close friend to assist in checking areas that are harder to see like the back of the neck or the scalp.
Examine your body front and back in the mirror, then look at the right and left sides with your arms raised.
Bend elbows and look carefully at forearms, upper underarms and palms.
Look at the backs of your legs and feet, the spaces between your toes, and the soles of your feet.
Examine the back of your neck and scalp with a hand mirror. Part hair for a closer look.
Finally, check your back and buttocks with a hand mirror.
When conducting a test for skin cancer, you are basically checking for any unusual spots or discoloration. Depending on the type of skin cancer, these spots can range in shape, size, and color. Spots can be lumpy, firm, thick, or crusty, and can even start to bleed when picked at. Be sure to check everywhere- including the bottom of your feet, under your nails, and on the insides of your toes and fingers.
If you suspect that you may have skin cancer because of a spot or skin growth you have noticed, follow these steps:
Dr. Goldenberg is a double board certified dermatologist and dermatopathologist, with experience in detecting and treating skin cancer and is fully equipped to conduct your professional screening. He is a strong believer of developing a patient-doctor relationship, and treats each of his patients as a person with individual concerns. Dr. Goldenberg understands that a skin cancer diagnosis can be an uneasy time for his patients and their family members. If you think you may have skin cancer, contact our NYC office directly at (212) 241-9728, and schedule your visit for the earliest date possible.