Skin checks are the best way catch skin cancer in the early stages.

As we’ve all learned from health education, it’s important to do these regularly. Perhaps before you go to bed, or as you’re in the shower.

What you might not know is that rather than in moles that already exist, melanoma develops in new spots.

What Is Melanoma?

It helps to know exactly what melanoma is. They’re the most dangerous form of skin cancer. They form when skin cells have unrepaired DNA damage–typically from UV rays–which lead to abnormal growth rates.

Melanomas, which look like moles, are actually tumors. They can develop from moles as well.

Typically melonomas have a black or brown coloring, but they can also be skin-colored, as well as pink, red, purple, blue or white.

Because melanoma can almost always be treated when caught early, it’s imperative to do skin checks. And while melanoma can form from moles, the knowledge that they almost always form from new spots can help individuals catch it early.

Cancer Or… Hypochondriac?

On TV, the hypochondriac is usually presented as someone who gets bent out of shape on every slight discoloration of their skin.

This isn’t uncommon of a feeling. Any time at all spent on WebMD can convince you, momentarily, you have a number of conditions. Which is why it’s important to be able to identify, visually, the differences between a mole and a cancerous mole.

Of course you won’t be perfect. Which is why you have regular checkups with your doctor. But a basic ability to distinguish what’s obviously harmful will lead you to have confidence when you make that call to the doctor.

Weird discolorations on the skin? Not sure if that mole’s always been there? It’s important to stay informed.

Call Integrated Dermatology of Reston to schedule an appointment today.