Pop celebrity Khloe Kardashian just announced that she had a skin cancer on her back and that 8 inches of her skin had to be removed. She describes herself as having “moles everywhere” and has had worrisome moles biopsied in the past. Khloe is doing you a favor by starting an international conversation about moles and skin cancer, especially at the end of summer. Thank you Khloe!
What does Khloe Kardashian's story mean for your skin?A skin spot that changes needs to be examined by your doctor. Khloe went to her doctor because she noticed that one of her moles was growing and changing shape. That is an important sign to watch out for! It turns out that the mole she was concerned about was not cancerous, but it still got her into the doctor who did a skin exam and found a cancerous lesion. People with “moles everywhere” or even just a lot of moles need to be examined annually by their dermatologist for skin cancer. People with a lot of moles have a much higher risk of skin melanoma, the ‘Big C’ skin cancer. At a minimum, people with a lot of moles need annual skin exams. Sometimes they even need more frequent exams depending on other risk factors. Self-skin exams save lives. Khloe is now urging everyone “to check yourself frequently”. She saw something worrisome on her own skin, which inspired her to make a doctor appointment. Even though the mole she saw was OK, she had enough self-knowledge to go to the doctor. That is what is most important. Here are the A, B, C, D & E’s of identifying skin melanoma. These saved Khloe, and they could save you or someone you love. Fair skinned people are at a greater risk of skin cancer. This is even more true for those of you with fair skin that live in sunny climates with a lot of UV exposure, even if you sun-protect. UV exposure, and the strength of UV rays in sunnier climates raises your risk of skin cancer. Khloe is a perfect example of this as a Caucasian woman living in Southern California. We see more skin cancer in people living in the sun belt. Anyone whose skin shows sun damage should have a baseline exam by a dermatologist to determine if they have an increased risk of skin cancer. UV ray exposure can lead to skin cancer. Even seemingly innocent and incidental UV exposure can do it. I always see more skin cancers in my dermatology practice after summer. In the 30 years I’ve been practicing in California, I know that my patients are going to bring me more skin cancers in the fall. In my practice we get ready for it.
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