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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 September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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