Many people know, but its important to remember, that your skin is your largest organ. Other organs, such as the heart, liver, and kidneys, are protected from harsh elements like UV rays. Your skin, however, requires steps to keep in healthy and safe from the elements.

According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer. The three types of skin cancer, melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma, often start as visible changes to the skin, such as growths or precancerous lesions. The following are descriptions of skin anomalies that are worth getting looked at.

  • Actinic, or Solar, Keratosis: These red, scaly patches often occur on the head and neck and are caused by too much sun. Doctors recommend early treatment of these patches as they may develop into cancer.
  • Actinic Cheilitis, also known as Farmer’s Lip: Similar to Solar Keratosis, except on the lower lip. If not treated, Farmer’s Lip may develop into invasive squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Abnormal moles: There’s an easy pneumonic to remembering which moles are potential problems, just think of your ABCDE’s. A = Asymmetry (if the two halves aren’t the same shape), B = Boarders (uneven or ragged boarders, specifically), C = Color (a mole that is more than one color or changes color), D = Diameter (any mole larger than a pencil eraser is suspicious), E  = Evolving or Elevated (a mole that changes rapidly in color, shape, or size or raises above the skin’s surface should be looked at).

Most often, skin cancer is very treatable if caught early. Be sure to see your dermatologist if you suspect a bump, rash, mole, or spot may be cancerous. And, of course, your friendly Orlando ENT physicians and specialists are always here to help with questions or issues regarding the head and neck.


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