has written more than twenty computer
software manuals, numerous newspaper
articles, including a
monthly health column
for The Sarasota
She's the author of two books
Living With Big Cats:
The Story of
Jungle Larry, Safari
For ordering information, click here.
To read more about these books,
participate in an ongoing
joke contest, surf on over to
The author currently lives on Florida's Space Coast.
Shara signed with a New York Literary agency in December.
Cancer: Awareness is Halfway to Prevention
Part 3 of 5
Early Detection of Skin Cancer
Removed early, these cancers are easily
treated and result in little scarring. The larger the tumor, the more
extensive treatment needed to remove it.
Self-exams must be performed regularly, perhaps monthly if you are at high risk. If possible, use a full-length mirror and a hand
mirror. Examine all skin that was exposed to the sun at any time in your
life. Don't forget to look at the backs of ears, back, neck, backs of
forearms and thighs.
Basal cell carcinoma may have one or more warning signs. Look
for any of these five signs:
- An open sore that bleeds, oozes, or
crusts and remains this way for three or more weeks. A persistent,
non-healing sore is very common in early stages of basal cell.
reddish patch or irritated area that may itch or hurt, and at other
times may cause no discomfort.
- A smooth growth with an elevated,
rolled border and an indentation in the center. As the growth slowly
enlarges, tiny blood vessels may develop on the surface.
- A shiny bump
that is pearly or translucent, often pink, red, or white. It can also be
tan, black, or brown, especially in the dark-haired, and can be confused
with a mole.
- A scar-like area, white, yellow, or waxy, often with a
poorly defined border. The skin itself appears shiny and taut. Although
a less frequent sign, it can indicate an aggressive tumor. However,
basal cell carcinoma can resemble other skin problems. If you notice any
of these signs, see a physician who specializes in skin diseases.
Squamous cell may look like nodules or red, scaly patches.
The ABCD's of Melanoma carcinoma
Here's an easy way to remember these signs -
A) Asymmetry. One half doesn't match the
B) Border. The edges are ragged, notched, or blurred.
Shades of tan, brown, and black. May have dashes of red, white, and blue
in the mottled appearance.
D) Diameter. Greater than six
millimeters--about the size of a pencil eraser. Have a doctor check a
mole if you notice any growth in it.
Other melanoma warning signs are;
- scaliness, oozing, bleeding, a bump or
- spread of pigment from a border into surrounding skin;
- change in sensation, including itchiness or tenderness.
Prevention & Treatment
Use sun protection year-round. Wear sunscreen
every day, preferably one with a high SPF. Wear a hat, long-sleeved
shirt, and long pants. Be aware that some medications increase
sensitivity to the sun. Practice self-examinations. Nobody knows better
than you about changes in your skin.
If observing a skin change, such as a mole, make an appointment for a
dermatologist to check the area. Dermatologic surgeons almost always
can take care of the skin cancers in the office.
Later This Week:
Gender-related cancers: prostate and breast. Awareness is
half way to prevention.
Back to the top / Previous Issues / Latest