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How to Spot Skin Cancer Signs and Symptoms

How to Spot Skin Cancer Signs and Symptoms

Skin cancer can develop primarily in an area which is exposed to the sun. But it is possible that it can also develop in an area which is not exposed to the sun. It can affect people of all skin tones.

Most of us have at least a few moles or skin discolorations on our bodies (many of us have more than a few), and it is sensible to keep an eye on them. But if you don’t know the original skin cancer signs and symptoms you may miss something important, or equally, you may worry about something that is entirely harmless.

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Number of Moles

Doctors use some methods when they check your moles and before they advise referral to a cancer specialist. The first will be to check and see how many moles you have as this is indicative of the amount of time you have spent in the sun across your lifetime and the heredity impact that your skin color has had on your mole count. If you are pale, you will have more moles and therefore a higher skin cancer risk. More than 10 moles on one arm indicates a greater than average risk.

ABCDE

Doctors also use the primary ABCDE method and it is easy for us to do this at home too.

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  • Asymmetrical – If you folded your mole in half would the sides match? If not it may require further investigation.
  • Borders – Is the border irregular or ragged? It indicates that the mole is bleeding into the surrounding tissue and it should be checked.
  • Colour – Is your mole more than one color? Most moles are one shade, if yours has more than two, get it checked.
  • Diameter – Healthy moles tend to be small. If yours is larger than 2mm or it has grown very quickly, have your doctor take a look.
  • Evolution – Has your mole changed at all? Has it started to bleed, crust over, get itchy or change in any way? If so, have it looked at.

Comparing Moles

Your doctor may also examine your mole with pictures they have on file or with their experience. You can easily do this at home too. There are many sources of skin cancer pictures online that you can compare with your mole. A typical mole will normally be flat and round and a medium brown to black color.

But you shouldn’t stop there. You should also keep a close watch on your mole and take photos of it to compare at a later date to identify changes. It will also greatly help your doctor if you have these pictures to show. Changes in moles may take many months to show and can be tricky to spot.

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Avoidance is the Best Cure

Of course, keeping your skin healthy is the best start when it comes to skin cancer. We recommend staying out of the sun unless you are wearing a sunscreen, clothing and a hat. Avoid the hottest part of the day and remember that if you are pale, you will burn more quickly. You can, however, get around 10-15 minutes in the sun per day to build up your vitamin D levels.

Checking for skin cancer signs and symptoms may be relatively easy to do at home, but you should still see your doctor if you have any concerns. Some skin cancers grow under the skin where they cannot be seen and therefore may be harder to spot. So regular check-ups are a great idea if you are at risk.

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If there is any change in the skin that you are unable to explain then, you should be worried. You should make an appointment with the doctor without any delay. It is possible that skin cancer does not cause the change so seeing a doctor will help in determining the cause of the change and treat it accordingly.

Featured photo credit: Adam Gray via dailymail.co.uk

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Adnan Manzoor

Data Analyst & Life Coach

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Last Updated on May 15, 2019

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

How to Tap Into the Power of Positivity

As it appears, the human mind is not capable of not thinking, at least on the subconscious level. Our mind is always occupied by thoughts, whether we want to or not, and they influence our every action.

“Happiness cannot come from without, it comes from within.” – Helen Keller

When we are still children, our thoughts seem to be purely positive. Have you ever been around a 4-year old who doesn’t like a painting he or she drew? I haven’t. Instead, I see glee, exciting and pride in children’s eyes. But as the years go by, we clutter our mind with doubts, fears and self-deprecating thoughts.

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Just imagine then how much we limit ourselves in every aspect of our lives if we give negative thoughts too much power! We’ll never go after that job we’ve always wanted because our nay-saying thoughts make us doubt our abilities. We’ll never ask that person we like out on a date because we always think we’re not good enough.

We’ll never risk quitting our job in order to pursue the life and the work of our dreams because we can’t get over our mental barrier that insists we’re too weak, too unimportant and too dumb. We’ll never lose those pounds that risk our health because we believe we’re not capable of pushing our limits. We’ll never be able to fully see our inner potential because we simply don’t dare to question the voices in our head.

But enough is enough! It’s time to stop these limiting beliefs and come to a place of sanity, love and excitement about life, work and ourselves.

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So…how exactly are we to achieve that?

It’s not as hard as it may seem; you just have to practice, practice, practice. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started.

1. Learn to substitute every negative thought with a positive one.

Every time a negative thought crawls into your mind, replace it with a positive thought. It’s just like someone writes a phrase you don’t like on a blackboard and then you get up, erase it and write something much more to your liking.

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2. See the positive side of every situation, even when you are surrounded by pure negativity.

This one is a bit harder to put into practice, which does not mean it’s impossible.

You can find positivity in everything by mentally holding on to something positive, whether this be family, friends, your faith, nature, someone’s sparkling eyes or whatever other glimmer of beauty. If you seek it, you will find it.

3. At least once a day, take a moment and think of 5 things you are grateful for.

This will lighten your mood and give you some perspective of what is really important in life and how many blessings surround you already.

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4. Change the mental images you allow to enter your mind.

How you see yourself and your surroundings make a huge difference to your thinking. It is like watching a DVD that saddens and frustrates you, completely pulling you down. Eject that old DVD, throw it away and insert a new, better, more hopeful one instead.

So, instead of dwelling on dark, negative thoughts, consciously build and focus on positive, light and colorful images, thoughts and situations in your mind a few times a day.

If you are persistent and keep on working on yourself, your mind will automatically reject its negative thoughts and welcome the positive ones.

And remember: You are (or will become) what you think you are. This is reason enough to be proactive about whatever is going on in your head.

Featured photo credit: Kyaw Tun via unsplash.com

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