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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 June 13, 2019

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

Sleeping next to your partner can be a satisfying experience and is typically seen as the mark of a stable, healthy home life. However, many more people struggle to share a bed with their partner than typically let on. Sleeping beside someone can decrease your sleep quality which negatively affects your life. Maybe you are light sleepers and you wake each other up throughout the night. Maybe one has a loud snoring habit that’s keeping the other awake. Maybe one is always crawling into bed in the early hours of the morning while the other likes to go to bed at 10 p.m.

You don’t have to feel ashamed of finding it difficult to sleep with your partner and you also don’t have to give up entirely on it. Common problems can be addressed with simple solutions such as an additional pillow. Here are five fixes for common sleep issues that couples deal with.

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1. Use a bigger mattress to sleep through movement

It can be difficult to sleep through your partner’s tossing and turning all night, particularly if they have to get in and out of bed. Waking up multiple times in one night can leave you frustrated and exhausted. The solution may be a switch to a bigger mattress or a mattress that minimizes movement.

Look for a mattress that allows enough space so that your partner can move around without impacting you or consider a mattress made for two sleepers like the Sleep Number bed.[1] This bed allows each person to choose their own firmness level. It also minimizes any disturbances their partner might feel. A foam mattress like the kind featured in advertisements where someone jumps on a bed with an unspilled glass of wine will help minimize the impact of your partner’s movements.[2]

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2. Communicate about scheduling conflicts

If one of you is a night owl and the other an early riser, bedtime can become a source of conflict. It’s hard for a light sleeper to be jostled by their partner coming to bed four hours after them. Talk to your partner about negotiating some compromises. If you’re finding it difficult to agree on a bedtime, negotiate with your partner. Don’t come to bed before or after a certain time, giving the early bird a chance to fully fall asleep before the other comes in. Consider giving the night owl an eye mask to allow them to stay in bed while their partner gets up to start the day.

3. Don’t bring your technology to bed

If one partner likes bringing devices to bed and the other partner doesn’t, there’s very little compromise to be found. Science is pretty unanimous on the fact that screens can cause harm to a healthy sleeper. Both partners should agree on a time to keep technology out of the bedroom or turn screens off. This will prevent both partners from having their sleep interrupted and can help you power down after a long day.

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4. White noise and changing positions can silence snoring

A snoring partner can be one of the most difficult things to sleep through. Snoring tends to be position-specific so many doctors recommend switching positions to stop the snoring. Rather than sleeping on your back doctors recommend turning onto your side. Changing positions can cut down on noise and breathing difficulties for any snorer. Using a white noise fan, or sound machine can also help soften the impact of loud snoring and keep both partners undisturbed.

5. Use two blankets if one’s a blanket hog

If you’ve got a blanket hog in your bed don’t fight it, get another blanket. This solution fixes any issues between two partners and their comforter. There’s no rule that you have to sleep under the same blanket. Separate covers can also cut down on tossing and turning making it a multi-useful adaptation.

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Rather than giving up entirely on sharing a bed with your partner, try one of these techniques to improve your sleeping habits. Sleeping in separate beds can be a normal part of a healthy home life, but compromise can go a long way toward creating harmony in a shared bed.

Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

Reference

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