Spotting Skin Cancer in Seniors

A woman doctor examines moles on the shoulder of a senior woman.Whether you’re planning to play a round of golf, tend to your vegetable garden or take your grandkids to the park, it’s a good idea to protect yourself from the sun’s rays before going outside.

Preventing and detecting skin cancer is particularly important for Caucasians and men age 50 and older.  The American Academy of Dermatology notes these groups have a higher risk of developing melanoma compared to the general population.

The organization warns that skin cancer can develop anywhere on your skin – even in a spot that isn’t exposed to the sun very often. It recommends several ways to help reduce your risk, including applying sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, seeking shade and examining your skin for any new or changing spots.

It’s helpful to develop the habit of regularly checking your skin for any changes, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, which says skin cancer can look like the following:

  • A mole that looks different from other moles on your body or is changing
  • A growth that is dome-shaped
  • A sore that will not heal, or one that heals and comes back
  • A slightly scaly patch that is shiny red or pink
  • A black or brown discoloration under one of your nails

Skin cancer can appear in other ways, and if you notice a suspicious spot on your skin that is changing, bleeding or itching, contact a board-certified dermatologist or your health care provider. Call (855) 314-8346 for a physician referral or find a doctor near you.