Nursing a sunburn? Check for spots

Published: Jul. 6, 2022 at 9:23 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Especially after a long holiday with so many activities under the hot sun, there could be a lot of people nursing sunburns this week.

You don’t have to wait for an annual exam or a free screening to check for skin cancer.

Dr. Michelle Tarbox, a Dermatologist and Texas Tech Physician, says we should all be self-checking for skin cancer at home.

She says, “Look for any spot that’s changing, because skin cancer tends to evolve more quickly than normal spots on your skin do. so something that’s changing colors, something that’s changing textures, something that’s sore or won’t heal, certainly anything that looks very significantly worrisome, there are multiple colors in the lesion or there is a very dark color to it. if it has a symptom like pain or itching, all of those would be good reasons to seek out the care of a medical professional.”

Dr. Tarbox says it’s common to see skin cancer in areas that are most often exposed to the sun like the arms, legs, face and ears.

But she says having a thick head of hair is still not enough to protect us from one of the deadliest types of skin cancer.

She explains, “You can develop skin cancer on your scalp. Melanoma there, for example, that’s the same depth as a melanoma on your body would actually have a worse prognosis on your scalp. So, it’s actually higher stakes to have skin cancer in that area.”

Bottom line, if you have a spot that looks different, suspicious or brings pain or itching, you need to show it to your doctor.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in this country and Dr. Tarbox says if you catch it early, it is 100 percent treatable.

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