The Woodlands Skin Checks – Dermatologist Anthony J. Perri, M.D.
With over 2 million new cases of skin cancer being diagnosed in the U.S. each year, not to mention other harmful skin conditions, it’s no surprise that a great many people are thinking about having a skin check. The Woodlands and Conroe residents are no strangers to the sun – it’s just part of the Texas way of life – so regular skin checks are even more important. Many people think it’s good enough to do skin checks at home or wait to come in until they see a problem, but the reality is, early detection and treatment can mean all the difference in the world.
Home Skin Checks: What to Look For
Dr. Perri recommends regular home skin checks at least once a month to all his patients in Conroe and The Woodlands. Skin checks at home are your first line of defense against skin cancer and other harmful conditions. While not all conditions are easily identifiable to the untrained eye, you see your skin every day and can be the first to notice potential issues and raise them to your dermatologist for further investigation.
What sort of things should you look for when performing a self-skin check? On a very broad level, you should look for any changes in your skin, no matter how small, but more specifically, keep an eye out for these warning signs:
- Moles, birthmarks, beauty marks, or brown spots that change in color, texture, increase in size or thickness, develop irregularity in outline, or are larger than a pencil eraser (about ¼”).
- Any moles, marks, or brown spots that appear after the age of 21.
- Spots or sores that continue to itch, hurt, crust, bleed, scab, or erode.
- Open sores that haven’t healed after three weeks.
- Black, brown, tan, pearly, multicolored, or translucent growths that increase in size.
Why a Dermatologist Should Perform Your Skin Check
The Woodlands and Conroe residents should schedule regular skin checks with Dr. Perri at least annually. While home skin checks are an excellent help and can often identify potential problems early on, skin cancer and other skin conditions don’t always look the way you expect them to. Consider these examples:
- A variant type of squamous cell carcinoma, called Bowen Disease, generally presents in reddish scaly patches of skin. Because of this, it is often mistaken for less serious conditions like rashes, fungus, eczema, and psoriasis.
- Changes in mole size, shape, and color can be indicators of a larger problem, but because it’s common for even harmless moles to change slightly over time, it can be difficult to know where there’s a real cause for concern.
- With some types of skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma, the infected area may be only slightly raised, if at all, and, in its early stages, it can even appear very similar to normal skin.
Because Dr. Perri and his staff have studied the varying types of skin cancer and other disorders extensively and deal with them on a daily basis, they are often much more able to spot warning signs early on. Early detection is often the key to successful treatment, especially with melanoma, which accounts for over 75% of skin cancer related deaths each year. Seeing Dr. Perri for regular skin checks ensures that, if you do have any early indicators for cancer or other conditions, they won’t be missed.
Increased Risk Factors
There are a number of factors thought to contribute to your likelihood of developing skin cancer, and thus, might provide good reason to increase the frequency of skin checks. The Woodlands and Conroe residents that have any of the below should check with Dr. Perri on whether more than one skin check per year is advisable:
- Family or Personal History of Skin Cancer: A history of skin cancer in yourself or your family can increase your risk of skin cancer in the future.
- History of Sunburns: Studies show those who have had five or more sunburns in their lifetime to have greatly increased risk for certain skin cancer types.
- Frequent Sun Exposure and Tanning: Whether for work or leisure, frequent exposure to the sun can increase your risk, as can the UV radiation emitted by tanning beds.
- High-altitude Climates: The closer you are to the sun, the more potent its rays and UV radiation and the greater the risk of sun-related problems.
- Exposure to Radiation and Certain Substances: Exposure to substances like arsenic and radiation treatments for eczema and acne, among other conditions, can increase your risk.
- Weakened Immune System: Those taking immune-suppressants such as those used to combat HIV/AIDS or those with other health conditions weakening their immune system are at greater risk.
- Moles and Pre-cancerous Lesions: Large/irregular moles or lesions known as actinic keratosis are known to develop into skin cancer.
- Fair Skin: Light-skinned people, those with blond or red hair, and light-colored eyes, and those who freckle or sunburn easily are more likely to develop skin cancer.
Years ago, Dr. Perri’s father was saved by an early diagnosis of melanoma. That pivotal event began his journey toward being a dermatologist, and today, he has crafted his practice around the idea that you should never have to wait months for an appointment. To that end, Perri Dermatology offers two convenient locations with extended weekday hours to fit your busy schedule.
Time to schedule your skin check? The Woodlands and Conroe dermatologist Dr. Anthony J. Perri offers flexible appointments to fit your schedule. Call today for your appointment: The Woodlands – 281.943.2749 Conroe – 936.522.4966