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The Warning Signs of Skin CancerSkin cancers -- including melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma -- often start as changes to your skin.
Mayo Clinic and expert physician provide authoritative comments on Morgellon's Syndrome and psychocutaneous disease.
We include authoritative citations and references to relevant medical journal articles and similar expert sources.
Our photo of an acute skin rash (left) provided by a client was diagnosed as contact dermatitis, not Morgellon's Syndrome. Morgellons disease is a mysterious skin disorder characterized by disfiguring sores and crawling sensations on and under the skin.
Our photo of a skin lesion (shown at left) is not associated with Morgellon's Syndrome and in fact was traced to an acute exposure to airborne Stachybotrys chartarum. Typical Moregellons'-like complaints we have heard from building inspection clients and readers are summarized below, followed by some case histories and reader comments that may be helpful. The common constituents of house dust are fabric fibers and skin cells, with a lower proportion of incidental pollen, mold, dust mite fecals, and where pets are or have been present, animal dander and hair.
Above (left) a client photo shows a heavy and rapid dust accumulation on building surfaces. It is also common to find some fiberglass particles in most buildings, usually traced to building insulation.
Readers should note that the level of indoor dust varies widely in buildings building environments.
OPINION-DF: various indoor environmental contaminants may in some cases be associated with skin irritation complaints, including exposure of insulation workers to high levels of contact with fiberglass insulation. Where we most experience as well as receive complaints of skin irritation traced to fiberglass exposure it is by people installing, demolishing, or stomping around on fiberglass building insulation, particularly in older buildings where foot traffic (in an attic without complete flooring for example) or other activities have damaged the insulation, increasing the proportion of small fiberglass fragments.
In the indoor environmental samples and even some tape samples of skin surfaces where readers or clients have expressed concern or confidence that unidentified fibers are both cause and symptom, using light microscopy and polarized light microscopy to 1200x magnification we have never found identifiable fibers other than incidental house or clothing dust and fabric fibers at normal levels. In other words, a careful cross-sectional examination of superficial skin samples in using transmitted light microscopy for the samples we have studied showed without exception that fibers in the sample were adhered to the skin's exposed or outer surface; they were not found growing in or through the skin nor originating from inside the body.
This is particularly true if a surface sample is collected from a sore or lesion as such skin surfaces are typically more sticky than other skin areas. The suggestion of our limited observations is that sufferers from Morgellon's Disease should consult carefully with their physician and if the physician agrees that it is appropriate, ask for a referral to a specialist in environmental medicine.
We have field and laboratory experience in investigation of the indoor environment and building related health complaints and we report here on the experience of a wide readership base, some of whom report undiagnosed skin irritations that the sufferers are confident are traced to unidentified fibers in their environment.
The, Lydia, Sarah Wilson, Katherine Beattie, Maurizio Pellegrino, Lyn Batia, George Katibah, Daniel Estandian, and Diana Bautista. Zhao, Zhong-Qiu, Fu-Quan Huo, Joseph Jeffry, Lori Hampton, Shadmehr Demehri, Seungil Kim, Xian-Yu Liu et al. Continue reading at ITCHY FABRICS, FURNITURE or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below. I took a look at your photos, but I cannot identify anything that is diagnostic or useful from those images other than to comment that I saw what appear to be hairs (and possibly other fibers) stored in plastic bags. Your QX5 microscope, while useful for general fiber examination at up to 200x, is unlikely to be adequate to the task of both fiber and small particle identification both because of limitations of the equipment and because training and experience in particle identification are important. Unfortunately examining hairs or fibers at low power is probably not reliable nor diagnostic. GP there are not pathogens (including fungus) reported by medical experts to be at the root explanation of Morgellon's Syndrome. I keep finding lots of dust build up and a fine powder substance on the furniture and when I wipe it it is green. I am writing to you because I have been experiencing disturbances of a, as of yet, un-determined source. For most of these sufferers and similar readers, you want to find an experienced, expert dermatologist or similarly qualified physician who is familiar with the complaints, literature on the subject, and methods of treatment.
We have always put Frontline on her and never had any problems in the past with any kind of fleas,or other bugs.
We have a extra large amount of a whitish dust, and other small fragments of stuff that we dona€™t know what it is.
From your note it seems that what might be helpful would be a more careful site inspection and perhaps a few dust samples that are examined to help you confirm that there are abnormal dust or particle levels, identify harmful or irritating materials that might be present, and track down the source of the material - since cleaning without fixing the source is just a short term Band-Aid. As for mailing settled dust samples, an easy way to collect a sample of settled dust for lab characterization is to use the procedure at TEST KITS for DUST, MOLD, PARTICLE TESTS. In some cases we will accept and process up to four dust samples at no fee (pro bono) for people in your situation but our lab is on assignment out of the country for several months, so you'll need to use a different forensic laboratory.
It certainly reflect the views of psychiatrists and doctors who never went much further than what they learned at medical school. Whilst some who claim to suffer from this disease are actually suffering delusional parasitosis (the whole thrust of the entry), there are hundreds of thousands who have very real clinical conditions. I am not a doctor but a sufferer who has met and spoken to researchers and medics working at the cutting edge in this field. Thank you for your article critique and remarks about Morgellon's syndrome - it helps us realize where we need to work on making our text more clear or more complete.
We have examined both environments (air, dust, materials, HVAC, mechanicals, IAQ etc) in buildings where an occupant has complaints that resemble those associated with Morgellon's Syndrome as well as examining in our forensic laboratory samples from skin, hair, even some bodily secretions, to check for the presence of the fibers and particles described by complainants.
We also have some experience with neurologically-induced itching and skin complaints and have in some cases observed skin irritations, even severe lesions that resulted from an individual whose discomfort led to repeated scratching.
Given our combination of direct (if limited) experience, forensic investigation experience, lab results, and literature review, we are compelled to refer our readers to the most authoritative sources we can find, and have done so for Morgellon's Syndrome as well as other topics discussed at InspectApedia. We understand with sympathy the frustration that arises when dealing with a frightening or troublesomeA complaint that lacks a clear explanation as to its root cause, and thus can understand the ensuing temptation to assign a particular cause regardless of the research and expert opinions to the contrary. In our OPINION, people should indeed seek expert diagnosis & appropriate treatment when suffering from any complaint, but at the same time we should be cautious about over-confidence in our own self-diagnosis or in explanations which cannot be verified by empirical evidence and good science. Our own editorial guidelinesA prefer the most un-biased and most-expert sources we can find. We are dedicated to making our information as accurate, complete, useful, and unbiased as possible: we very much welcome critique, questions, or content suggestions for our web articles. The authors assessed the relation between exposure to dampness and molds in dwellings and the development of allergic rhinitis in childhood in a 6-year, population-based prospective cohort study of 1,863 children aged 1a€“7 years at baseline in 1991 (follow-up rate, 77%) from Espoo, Finland. The American Journal of Epidemiology is the premier epidemiological journal devoted to the publication of empirical research findings, methodological developments in the field of epidemiological research and opinion pieces.
Abstract:a€‚ Neuropathic and psychogenic itch are two entities that have not been well studied.
Conclusion: Neuropathic and psychogenic itches remain challenging diagnostic and therapeutic conditions.
Adkins and Adkins Dictionary of Roman Religion discusses Robigus, the Roman god of crop protection and the legendary progenitor of wheat rust fungus. Fifth Kingdom, Bryce Kendrick, ISBN13: 9781585100224, is available from the InspectAPedia online bookstore - we recommend the CD-ROM version of this book. Our recommended books about building & mechanical systems design, inspection, problem diagnosis, and repair, and about indoor environment and IAQ testing, diagnosis, and cleanup are at the InspectAPedia Bookstore. The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Veterinary dermatologists tell us thin, balding fur and little red and scabbed sores under the fur by the tail base means fleas 95% of the time.
Visit you veterinarian for the new prescription flea products that work much, much better than the old topicals; you will be amazed!
Your pet probably does not wipe his or her paws before coming in the house, but then she or he licks the paws and eat the toxins from outside!
So, are you still going to let a little “chemicals” stand in the way of finally solving that flea problem?
Unfortunately, if you are an animal doctor for long enough, we’ve all heard a story beginning somewhat like this one.
Doc gently picked Frankie up – being conscious to keep a hand on the middle of his back so he would not be able to bend, or break, his back in case of a panicked kicking escape attempt. We confirmed the infection by magnifying a small sample of the crusted skin under the microscope. Also, rabbits have so much dead skin and flakey crust in their reaction to the ermines, that  those little flakes scatter in their environment and they can reinfect themselves with the earmites! Doc Truli stopped examining the Grade 4 out of 4 periodontal disease loose, infected teeth and focused on Taylor’s eye.
Doc Truli hoped the bleeding would just stop, but the bleeding continued until the whole globe of Taylor’s left eye was cherry red! You may have read many websites that describe mange and you’re more confused than ever. One last thing to remember: just because you think you know what is wrong with your puppy, the battle doe not end there. Doc saw a 5-year-old German Shepherd Dog with an open, bleeding skin infection at the base of his neck, in between the shoulder blades. Demodex takes a minimum of 6 weeks and a maximum of up to a year or longer to control, or cure. Malcolm, the 4-year-old black and tan Doberman Pinscher limped into the animal hospital, blood dripping over the floor everywhere he stepped. Doberman's hind paw with missing 4th side toe and ripped 3rd toe that needed reconstructive surgery. Doberman's hind paw with 3 good toes 6 weeks after a car rolled over the fourth toe and ripped it in half!
Surgery proceeded to save the toe and hopefully, prevent infection from setting into the bone. Malcolm took his antibiotics and painkillers, refused to keep a bandage on the paw, and healed anyway. Here you can see one tiny red spot of epithelialization (when the skin has stretched as far as it will go and the new thin layer of skin cells finishes the wound closure). Spitfire purred non-stop, the last two caudate vertebra nervously flicking the tip of his tail. Larry was a male, neutered 5-year-old black labrador retriever mixed-breed dog with a penchant for boating.
Suddenly there was a crunch of tires against the seashells of the parking area, and Larry cried out in pain. Next time you see a very thin (or very fat) dog walking down the street, try not to jump to conclusions. Then, extend the understanding and concern you feel for the dogs you see on the sidewalk downtown to people in your life! If your cat won’t come out of the carrier at the vet’s office, take the top off! Then there are the people that judge every dog they see on a walk,”Oh, look at that, what a shame. Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema, is a chronic skin condition that affects 10 percent to 20 percent of people around the world.

Impetigo is a bacterial infection that causes large blisters or crusted sores, depending on the type of bacteria involved.
The first sign of pityriasis rosea is a single round or oval red patch called a herald patch, followed by the appearance of multiple oval patches on the back or chest in a Christmas tree-like arrangement, Weinberg says. Tinea cruris, otherwise known as jock itch, is a form of ringworm — in fact, ringworm and athlete's foot often occur together with tinea cruris.
People with oily skin, like teenagers, are a bit more prone to tinea versicolor, which Weinberg describes as a fungal infection with a superficial yeast that lives on the skin.
While cellulitis starts as a superficial infection of the skin — sometimes due to a tiny break in the skin that allows in bacteria, it can become a serious issue if the bacteria enter the bloodstream.
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They can be new growths or precancerous lesions -- changes that are not cancer but could become cancer over time. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. We include descriptions of the complaints, case histories, and references to additional details about the different types of particles commonly found in the indoor environment. Our page top photograph shows a lab photo of ordinary human skin cells, along with some animal dander, fabric fibers stained with acid fuchsin.
Most often your own doctor can give the best advice on seeking treatment or further consultation with suitable experts. Other common but lower frequency particles include starch granules, soil particles, and depending on the building and its mechanicals, soot.
At above right our lab photo shows that the prime contents of the dust were fabric fibers and starch granules, not building insulation in this case. Carpets in buildings are often a significant source of indoor dust (fabric fibers) as may be other fabrics in environments that use heavy curtains and lots of upholstered furniture. In our experience skin irritation from fiberglass insulation generally diminishes rapidly and stops within 24-48 hours of bathing and thorough washing of dusty clothing. Such samples can be collected from individuals who have no Morgellon's syndrome complaint as well as people who do. Here we describe common observations & complaints described by some who might be described as suffering from Morgellon's Syndrome. To examine and identify fibers or small particles, including fungal spores, insect fragments, or non-fungal debris, requires both proper forensic training in the type of particles being examined and training in microscopy, including the use of high powered light and polarized light microscopy, typically from 400x to 1200x. You should of course discuss your symptoms and concerns with a physician who is expert in environmental medicine. But indeed people suffering from these complaints need to find an experienced, expert dermatologist or similarly qualified physician who is familiar with the complaints, literature on the subject, and methods of treatment. I was told by the assistant attorney "that was foolish to tell your social worker-that's your best witness". We had a roof leak that went on for quite awhile it came through my textured ceiling and my husband just knocked down the big lump it made on the ceiling and patched the roof but the mold itself was never cleaned. When I put on my clothing if there is any black specks on it my body will immediately start itching and burning wherever the black specks are touching. In my experience the best place to start is with your own physician who knows you and your medical history.
I have kept some of the fragments that I have found on myself,and on furniture in our house,and off some of our clothing.
Choose a horizontal surface that has a week or two of settled dust on it, located in a room where you spend a lot of time. In this respect the article is highly incorrect especially about the emergence of the fibres.
In no case have we been able to detect fiberglass nor other fibers (nor biological creatures such as bugs) actually erupting from within body tissues as sufferers describe. Itching reactions can also be drug induced, such as as a side effect of some pain-killers and narcotics. Working together and exchanging information makes us better informed than any individual can be working alone.
The studied exposures were history of water damage, presence of moisture and visible mold, and perceived mold odor in the home, based on parent-administered questionnaire. It is aimed at both fellow epidemiologists and those who use epidemiological data, including public health workers and clinicians. Cutaneous manifestations of psychiatric disease that commonly present to the dermatologistA a€“ diagnosis and treatment. Neuropathic itch is related to pathology located at any point along the afferent pathway of the nervous system.
Environmental Protection Agency US EPA - includes basic advice for building owners, occupants, and mold cleanup operations. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively.
Apparently, this lady and her husband considered themselves Great Dane breeders, and then, when they split up, she kept the dogs in tiny, narrow, home-made cages and starved this one down to 50% of his body weight, because he was her ex-husband’s favorite. These symptoms can indicate a host of skin conditions, including rosacea, dyshidrotic eczema, contact dermatitis, ringworm, impetigo, pityriasis rosea or rubia, actinic keratosis, tinea versicolor, cellulitis, and seborrhea. It could be rosacea, a chronic skin condition that affects roughly 14 million Americans, most often fair-skinned adults between the ages of 30 and 60. There are two types of contact dermatitis, irritant and allergic, with most people having the irritant type, Weinberg says.
Actinic keratosis lesions are flat, white, and scaly, and appear on places frequently exposed to the sun, such as the face, hands, and arms.
This itch-causing condition is found mostly in male athletes and appears in moist areas of the body like the groin, inner thighs, and buttocks. Weinberg says cellulitis can appear anywhere on the body and can be associated with athlete’s foot. View all.ConnectDon't miss out on breaking news, live chats, lively debates, and inspiring stories. An estimated 40% to 50% of fair-skinned people who live to be 65 will develop at least one skin cancer. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. In some cases that we have researched we could identify the probable fiber source by careful comparison of sample fibers to fiber sources in the building such as carpeting or furnishings. Of interest to people suffering from skin complaints described as itching and diagnosed as Morgellon's disease, a subject person of the Times article was noted to suffer from having been mis-diagnosed as having a mental issue treated by antidepressants when in fact the individual had a rare disease causing itching. And if the physician obtains medical samples from skin surface or sub-surface areas and that need identification, in addition to medical lab examination, a particle or forensic lab might then be of service. The biggest problem we have is,all this extra heavy dust fibers,and other fragments of possibly some kind of insulation, being on the inside of our house. If we could get someone to check this stuff out,and tell us what it is,it may help us in finding out where it is coming from,and how to fix our problem. One sample of representative dust, or a sample of settled dust along with a second of the material you suspect of being a problem should be enough for a competent forensic laboratory to determine if there are unusual particles in the sample as well as what the dominant particles are. I do hope you will amend the entry as it is not only misleading and highly biased but could lead to people being unable to seek real treatment that would alleviate their symptoms.
We have detected clothing and other fibers stuck to the exterior surface of both skin and skin lesions in areas of scratching, scabs, etc.
It could be related to damage to the peripheral nervous system, such as in postherpetic neuropathy, brachioradial pruritus, notalgia paresthetica, and in central nervous system damage as a result of spinal cord tumors and demyelinization diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Future studies in this field and in particular therapeutic controlled trials will enable us to provide better treatment to these tormenting types of itch. Every aspect of the fungi, from aflatoxin to zppspores, with an accessible blend of verve and wit. Many skin conditions have no known cause, while others are due to such disparate causes as sun exposure or genetics. Rosacea occurs when facial blood vessels become stimulated and dilate, Weinberg says, causing the skin to redden and blush and flush easily.
Atopic eczema causes dry and itchy skin with raised, red, scaly patches typically on the inside of the elbows and back of the knees.
People who have allergic contact dermatitis may be allergic to a host of substances, from latex to preservatives to nickel. But seborrheic dermatitis also can affect the face, groin, and other areas where there are a lot of oil glands.
Light-skinned people and those who had bad sunburns as children are more prone to getting actinic keratoses. Cellulitis appears as an area of skin that becomes red, warm, and tender; it may also cause a fever and chills.
Join the conversation!Free NewslettersPersonalized tips and information to get and stay healthier every day. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site.
Readers should therefore view with caution photographs published at some websites purporting to provide hard evidence that Morgellon's sufferers indeed have unusual or pathogenic fibers erupting from their skin. We don't really know for sure what it is, or what is causing it.We have had a few people look at it,one of the contractors thought that the heating and cooling system may be starved for air,with not enough air returns going into the system. A cross-sectional analysis of those samples we've examined did not find evidence of a source of fibers emanating from the body interior. I missed the best years of my life, when my children were growing up because I was in bed crying from pain. The 24 chapters are filled with up-to-date information of classification, yeast, lichens, spore dispersal, allergies, ecology, genetics, plant pathology, predatory fungi, biological control, mutualistic symbioses with animals and plants, fungi as food, food spoilage and mycotoxins.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order.
Doc Truli knew that metastatic breast cancer in cats usually behaved aggressively – meaning it spread fast and far in the body.
A few, like ringworm and impetigo, are the result of your skin coming into contact with a microorganism, like a fungus or certain bacteria. Doctors typically view a skin sample under a microscope to confirm a diagnosis of ringworm. Other symptoms of rosacea include acne-like breakouts, eye irritation, and thickening of skin on the nose.
In addition to the rash, those with eczema often experience dandruff and flaky skin on the face, body, and hands. This type of eczema tends to be chronic and causes fluid-filled blisters, thickened, red, dry skin, and intense itching. Seborrhea, says Weinberg, makes the skin look flaky and greasy, and is a cousin of psoriasis. Treatments include topical cortisone as needed, light therapy administered by a dermatologist, or sun exposure.

Treatment options include freezing the lesions (cryotherapy), burning them (cautery), or using topical treatments such as 5-fluorouracil cream. Tinea cruris typically has a red-brown center and may have scaly edges or bumps that look like blisters.
The red-orange colored scaling plaques can appear on the chest, palms, or feet, depending on the type of pityriasis rubra, and lead to inflammation and peeling skin.
According to Weinberg, people with diseases that suppress the immune system, such as HIV, are more likely to get cellulitis. My wood paneling in my living room is turning black in places and then it will rot through in some places. And the fine powder substance was all over my duffle bag and had 4 holes all the way through it. There is some kind of fragments of insulation possibly and other kinds of fragments that are floating around in our house and we dona€™t know what it is, and we dona€™t know for sure where it is coming from. We were going to try to send some samples of this stuff in but, we dona€™t know how much it will cost us for each sample we send in .
Of the individual indicators, water damage and moisture on the surfaces were consistent determinants of allergic rhinitis. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home.
Or she could have hidden demodex on the edges of her eyelids, where we can’t perform the skin scrape test. Jeffrey Weinberg, MD, director of the clinical research center in the department of dermatology at St.
If you have rosacea, you can lessen the frequency and severity of your flare-ups by avoiding triggers, including the sun, hot drinks, spicy foods, cold or windy weather, and vigorous exercise.
Since there are no definitive tests, skin examinations and medical history are often used to diagnose atopic eczema. Washing the skin and using anti-itch lotions and steroids are the most common types of treatment for contact dermatitis.
It’s more apt to move in if the skin is already irritated or inflamed by insect bites or eczema, for example. Weinberg says that actinic keratosis is one of the most common reasons people see a dermatologist.
Actinic Keratosis (Solar Keratosis)These small, scaly patches are caused by too much sun, and commonly occur on the head, neck, or hands, but can be found elsewhere. At first that did help,but now over time of a few weeks,it's getting bad.and continues to get worse each day the way it seems.
The results of this cohort study, which assessed exposure before the onset of allergic rhinitis, strengthen considerably the evidence of the role of indoor dampness problems as determinants of allergic rhinitis in children.
Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
Knobbly, bumpy, fluid-filled pockets of firm roundness in a 6 cm area in the middle of her right mammary chain. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center and Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, says all of these conditions are treatable and generally not life-threatening.
Doctors often recommended avoiding potential triggers, using topical medications, and moisturizing frequently. Impetigo is treated with prescription antibiotic cream or lotion, or in severe cases, with a course of oral antibiotics.
Vitamin A-like medications such as isotretinoin or drugs such as methotrexate are possible treatments. They can be an early warning sign of skin cancer, but it’s hard to tell whether a particular patch will continue to change over time and become cancerous. I was in mid 20's & didn't want to ruin their wallpaper when we moved in to get the white stuff off the walls.
Although no controlled studies have been conducted for treatment of neuropathic and psychogenic itch, medications that are part of the treatment armentarium for neuropathic pain, depression, and anxiety seem to be effective. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Topical medication or oral antibiotics are often prescribed to treat rosacea; laser treatments are sometimes recommended to lessen the redness of rosacea.
Most do not, but doctors recommend early treatment to prevent the development of squamous cell skin cancer. If you could let me know something as soon as possible it would be greatly appreciated I am concerned for me and my children's health.
We have had some problems in the past with this new system we had put in back in around 2003. The lump did not hurt and it was not broken open or infected, but it just seemed a matter of time before she started suffering painful consequences.
Seborrhea of the scalp in adults is treated with shampoo that contains salicylic acid; non-medicated shampoos are used for babies. Actinic Cheilitis (Farmer's Lip)Related to actinic keratosis, actinic cheilitis is a precancerous condition that usually appears on the lower lips. Less common symptoms include swelling of the lip, loss of the sharp border between the lip and skin, and prominent lip lines.
Cutaneous HornsThe cutaneous horn appears as a funnel-shaped growth that extends from a red base on the skin.
The size and shape of the growth can vary considerably, but most are a few millimeters in length.
It usually occurs in fair-skinned elderly adults with a history of significant sun exposure. When Is a Mole a Problem?A mole (nevus) is a benign growth of melanocytes, cells that gives skin its color.
Although very few moles become cancer, abnormal or atypical moles can develop into melanoma over time.
So many times I wish I had too but I believe in justice and for the last 9 years have been trying to find out what made me so sich . Moles that may have changed into skin cancer are often irregularly shaped, contain many colors, and are larger than the size of a pencil eraser. Atypical moles may be larger (one-quarter inch across or larger) and more irregular in shape, with notched or fading borders. Know Your ABCDEsMost moles on a person's body look similar to one another. A mole or freckle that looks different from the others or that has any characteristics of the ABCDEs of melanoma should be checked by a dermatologist.
The ABCDEs are important characteristics to consider when examining your moles or other skin growths, so learn them in the slides to come. Know Your ABCDEs: 'A' is for AsymmetryAsymmetry means one half of a mole does not match the other half.
When checking your moles or freckles, draw an imaginary line through the middle and compare the two halves.
Know Your ABCDEs: 'B' is for BorderIf the border or edges of the mole are ragged, blurred, or irregular, have it checked by a dermatologist. Know Your ABCDEs: 'C' is for ColorA mole that does not have the same color throughout or that has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white, or red is suspicious. Know Your ABCDEs: 'D' is for DiameterA mole is suspicious if the diameter is larger than the eraser of a pencil. Know Your ABCDEs: 'E' is for EvolvingA mole that is evolving – shrinking, growing larger, changing color, begins to itch or bleed – should be checked.
If a portion of the mole appears newly elevated, or raised from the skin, have it looked at by a doctor. Melanoma lesions often grow in size or change in height rapidly.  Tips for Screening Moles for CancerExamine your skin on a regular basis.
Check the "hidden" areas: between fingers and toes, the groin, soles of the feet, the backs of the knees. Pay special attention to moles if you're a teen, pregnant, or going through menopause, times when your hormones may be surging. How Are Moles Evaluated?If you find a mole or spot that has any ABCDE's of melanoma -- or one that's tender, itching, oozing, scaly, doesn't heal or has redness or swelling beyond the mole -- see a doctor.
If found to be cancerous, the entire mole and a rim of normal skin around it will be removed and the wound stitched closed.
A Primer on Skin CancerMalignant melanoma, especially in the later stages, is serious and treatment is difficult.
People who've had skin cancer once are at risk for getting it again; they should get a checkup at least once a year. MelanomaMelanoma is not as common as other types of skin cancer, but it's the most serious and potentially deadly. Consult a doctor if a mole changes in size, shape, or color, has irregular edges, is more than one color, is asymmetrical, or itches, oozes, or bleeds. Squamous Cell CarcinomaThis nonmelanoma skin cancer may appear as a firm red nodule, a scaly growth that bleeds or develops a crust, or a sore that doesn't heal. It most often occurs on the nose, forehead, ears, lower lip, hands, and other sun-exposed areas of the body.
Bowen DiseaseBowen disease is also called squamous cell carcinoma "in situ." It is a type of skin cancer that spreads outward on the surface of the skin. By contrast, "invasive" squamous cell carcinomas can grow inward and spread to the interior of the body.
Bowen disease looks like scaly, reddish patches that may be crusted; it may be mistaken for rashes, eczema, fungus, or psoriasis. Basal Cell CarcinomaBasal cell carcinoma is the most common and easiest-to-treat skin cancer.
Basal cell tumors can take on many forms, including a pearly white or waxy bump, often with visible blood vessels, on the ears, neck, or face. Tumors can also appear as a flat, scaly, flesh-colored or brown patch on the back or chest, or more rarely, a white, waxy scar. But it doesn't explain skin cancers that develop on skin not ordinarily exposed to sunlight. While outdoors, liberally apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher (don't forget the lips and ears!), wear a hat and sunglasses, and cover up with clothing. And remember, if you notice changes to your skin such as a new growth, a mole changing appearance, or a sore that won't heal, see a doctor right way.

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