Our skin is much more important to our health than many people realize. It protects us from bacteria and viruses, regulates our body temperature, helps us make sense of our environment and separates the inside of our body from the outside world.
Conditions that clog, irritate or inflame your skin can cause uncomfortable and unsightly symptoms such as redness, burning, itching and swelling. Severe sunburns, as well as numerous other risk factors, are of much greater concern because they can increase your chances of
developing skin cancer.
Any new, suspicious-looking spot on your skin, or a change in the shape, size or color of a mole, could be an early sign of skin cancer. Fortunately, the vast majority of skin blemishes are not cancerous, but you should have your doctor check any changes you notice anyway. To
determine if an area of concern is cancerous, your doctor will first take your medical history and determine your risk factors, including any history of skin cancer in your family and the number of severe sunburns you've suffered. During your skin examination, the doctor will note
the size, shape, color and texture of the suspicious area; check your lymph nodes for swelling and examine for any other potential signs of cancer. If the doctor feels it's needed, a skin biopsy will remove a small sample from the suspect area for further testing.