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April 1, 2015

WG/ACS PARTNERSHIP: Preventing and Recognizing Skin Cancer

As part of Western Growers’ partnership with the American Cancer Society (ACS), we are sharing information such as the article below to help you prevent different types of cancer for yourself, your family and your employees.

To find more resources to share or to arrange for a local ACS representative to speak at your company, visit www.wga.com or contact Paula Olson at 949.885.2249 or [email protected].

 

Do You Know How to Spot Skin Cancer?

The sooner you find skin cancer, the more likely it is to be treated successfully!  When was the last time you examined your skin?  If you don’t remember, it’s time to do it.  A thorough examination of your skin should also be part of your regular cancer-related check-up with your doctor.

It’s important to check your skin often, preferably once a month. Follow these step-by-step instructions:

•   Check your face, scalp, ears, neck, chest, and belly.

•   Check your armpits, both sides of your arms, the tops and bottoms of your hands, and in between your fingers and fingernails.

•   Check your upper and lower back, the front and back of your legs, calves, and the tops and bottoms of your feet.

You’ll need a mirror, and maybe some help with those hard to see places, but make sure you check every bit of your skin.

 

What to Look for

You’re looking for any change in your skin – something new or something that’s been there, but has changed.  It might help you to know a little about the types of skin cancer and how they might look.  For examples of changes you might look for, see our Skin Cancer Image Gallery at http://www.cancer.org/cancer/skincancer/galleries/skin-cancer-images.

 

Basal and Squamous Cell Cancers (non-melanoma skin cancers)

Basal cell cancers and squamous cell cancers are most often found on areas that are exposed to a lot of sun—such as the head, neck, and arms—but they also can occur elsewhere.  Look for new growths, spots, bumps, patches, or sores that don’t heal after two to three months.

•   Basal cell carcinomas often look like flat, firm, pale areas or small, raised, pink or red, translucent, shiny, waxy areas that may bleed after a minor injury.

•   Squamous cell carcinomas may look like growing lumps, often with a rough, scaly, or crusted surface.  They can also look like flat, reddish patches on the skin that grow slowly.

 

Melanomas

Melanoma is a more serious type of skin cancer.  It often looks like a common mole but with some differences.  Use the ABCD rule as an easy guide to help you when you’re looking at a spot on your skin.  Be on the lookout, and tell your doctor about any spots that match the following description:

     A is for Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.

     B is for Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.

     C is for Color: The color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, or sometimes with patches of red, white, or blue.

     D is for Diameter: The spot is larger than 6 millimeters across (about ¼ inch—the size of a pencil eraser) or is growing larger.

Other important signs of melanoma include changes in the size, shape, or color of a mole or the appearance of a new spot.  Some melanomas don’t fit the ABCD rule, so it’s very important for you to notice changes in skin markings or new spots on your skin.

Be sure to show your doctor any areas that concern you.

For more information about how the American Cancer Society can help you, your family, and your co-workers protect yourselves from skin cancer, visit cancer.org/sunsafety or call us at 1-800-227-2345.  We’re here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with information, answers and support. (Source: American Cancer Society)