This might seem like an odd posting from; one a chiropractor and two it’s January. Not the first thing that came to mind but like a lot of my blogs the idea came from a patient who was, because it was January heading south to escape the cold.
Skin cancer is a bit of an interest for me, personally as a fair haired Caucasian of middle age I have had several skin cancers removed already, secondly I teach Dermatology at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and lastly as a I chiropractor I see a lot of bare backs.
So it makes some sense that a chiropractor should be interested in those moles on your back, you have a hard time seeing them and we may see them quite regularly and are thus well positioned to detect and monitor issues you may have.
Now for a primer on skin cancer, most skin cancers thankfully are not too much of a concern and can be managed easily with liquid nitrogen or excision.
These two most common types of skin cancer are:
Basal Cell carcinoma and Squamous cell carcinoma, a couple of fancy sounding conditions you may have never heard of, but are basically abnormal cell growths in superficial skin, occur in fair-haired, light skinned, middle aged or older individuals in areas exposed to the sun, so the face, top of that bald head, arms or legs.
These are related to previous burns and cumulative sun exposure. Look for areas of redness, small sores that don’t seem to heal over a period of time longer than you’d expect for a slight scrape or cut. They may become raised and the sore remains in the middle.
The skin cancer that you most likely have heard about before is, Malignant Melanoma or just Melanoma. This is the skin cancer that typically develops from a mole, occurs in younger age groups and can occur anywhere on your body, even the soles of your feet! So not just in sun exposed areas.
When you look at a mole on your body think of ABCDE.
- Is the mole Asymmetrical?
- Borders are they smooth and round like a simple freckle or jagged? Are the borders distinct or do they blend into the surrounding area?
- Colour, is the mole one colour, brown or black or is it multiple colours?
- Diameter is the mole more than 6mm in diameter?
- Elevation is the mole raised above the skin surface or Evolution has the mole changed recently?
So if you are heading south for the winter, cover up, wear your sunscreen, check yourself for any weird moles or marks several times per year. If you have a spot you’re concerned about let me know next time I see you or ask your family physician.
Dr. Kevin Finn 905-831-3939 www.drkevinfinn.ca