At Washington Dermatology Consultants, serving patients from Arlington, Stafford, and nearby communities, we provide a comprehensive array of medical, surgical, laser, and cosmetic dermatology.
One of the most frightening words a patient can hear is “cancer”. More than one million people are diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancers each year. These common cancers – basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma – can be detected and cured in early stages.
While melanoma only accounts for one percent of all cases, it is estimated that nearly 80,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year and have been on the rise over the past 30 years. Melanoma can also be detected in early stages.
At Washington Dermatology Consultants, our medical director Dr. Kenneth Neal and our professional team encourage patients to perform routine self-screenings and to schedule annual clinical evaluations. Every individual should be aware of changes in his or her skin.
Some of the risk factors that are associated with skin cancer include:
- Caucasian heritage
- Personal or family history of melanoma
- Presence of many or large moles or a family history of unusual moles
- Overexposure to sunlight or tanning beds
- Fair complexion
- Blue, green, or light eye color
- Red or blond hair
- Compromised immune system
- Exposure to arsenic or radiation
- Actinic keratosis
Self-examinations of the skin should be conducted regularly, in a well-lighted area using a full length and a handheld mirror to examine all areas of the body.
- Moles that have changed in color, size, texture, or thickness or have irregular borders
- Moles or spots that appear in adulthood
- Moles that are larger than 1/4 inch
- Sores that do not heal in several weeks
- Spots or sores that bleed, itch, scab, or cause pain
- Skin growth that has a pearly, translucent, or colored appearance
Patients who have never performed a self-screening would benefit from a professional evaluation which would provide a baseline.
Dr. Neal is a recognized and respected, board-certified dermatologist, researcher, and clinical author, as well as a fellowship- trained Mohs Micrographic surgeon. Patients with certain risk factors should be scheduled for a comprehensive consultation and skin cancer screening. If a visual skin cancer screening identifies abnormal moles or questionable areas on the skin, the doctor will remove a sample of the suspicious tissue and send it to a pathologist for a biopsy to determine if cancer cells are present.
To learn more about skin cancer screening at Washington Dermatology Consultants, contact our clinical team at 571-431-6175 today.