skin checks for skin cancer

Our first goal is to prevent skin cancer by encouraging healthy skin habits.   Our next priority is to diagnose and remove skin cancer as early as possible.   Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common skin cancer that we treat. We also treat Squamous Cell Carcinoma and In Situ Malignant Melanoma in our office.   Once a skin cancer is diagnosed and removed, we follow our patients with regular full skin checks to monitor the site and to make sure no other concerning spots have developed.

skin cancer prevention

Practicing sun safety, not only in the summer but all year, is the best way to prevent skin cancer. In addition to making a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher part of your daily beauty regimen, you can follow these additional prevention tips:

  • Seek the shade when in the sun for extended periods of time, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s UV rays are most powerful.
  • Cover up with UV-blocking clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
  • Don’t forget SPF lip balm to protect your lips.
  • Apply a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF (UVB protection) of at least 30 and good UVA protection at least 30 minutes before going outside. Be sure to reapply every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating.
  • Zinc is my favorite sunscreen ingredient. It is a physical sunscreen – reflecting light instead of chemically reacting with UV rays.
  • Avoid indoor tanning booths.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun and apply sunscreen to babies over the age of six months.
  • Do self-skin exams every month, and see your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
  • Consider taking an over-the-counter supplement called Heliocare (Polypodium leucotomos) on days that you are going to be getting prolonged sun exposure. This water-soluble antioxidant made from a fern extract acts within 30 minutes of ingestion to help protect your skin cells from DNA damage from the sun. It is NOT a replacement for sunscreen and/or sun avoidance.

skin cancer warning signs

Throughout the year, you should examine your skin head-to-toe once a month. Self-exams can help you identify potential skin cancers early, when they can almost always be completely cured. When checking your skin, follow the ABCDE method and look for the following things when checking moles or spots:

Asymmetry: If you draw a line through a mole, the two halves will not match.

Border: The borders of an early melanoma tend to be uneven, scalloped or notched.

Color: Multiple colors (brown, black, or tan) in a mole is a warning sign for melanoma. A number of different shades of brown, tan or black could appear. Melanomas may also become red, blue or another color.

Diameter: When the ABCD’s of melanoma were first described, “D” stood for “Diameter larger than the size of a pencil eraser” (1/4 inch or 6 mm). To catch melanomas as early as possible, many dermatologists now use the letter “D” to mean “Different.” Melanomas are frequently “Ugly Ducklings” and look different from the other moles on your skin.

Evolving: If a mole changes in size, shape, color or elevation, or develops symptoms such as bleeding, itching or crusting, it should be checked by your dermatologist.

Request An

Extremely thorough! I was able to have virtual visits while their office was closed during the pandemic. They are extremely thorough, calling before appointments to make sure that I can get into the app, and following up afterwards via email with all of the information that we discussed. I haven’t been into their actual office… MORE “Emily Fonseca – Review – Dermatologist Dr. Ann Hern”

Emily Fonseca

I have been seeing Dr. Hern for nearly 14 years, and continue to chose her as my dermatologist even though I now live 4 hours away. She has a caring and knowledgeable bedside manner, stays on top of current best practices and treatments for derm and cosmetic issues, and has hired an office and clinical… MORE “Catherine Veeser – Review – Dermatologist Dr. Ann Hern”

Catherine Veeser

Jessica and staff at Lifetime Dermatology have been awesome! Appointments are always on time and COVID precautions in place. Nice new office… MORE “Beth Zac – Review – Jessica M. MacDougall, PA-C”

Beth Zac

I was very pleased with my first time visit to lifetime. Dr. MacDougall and her nurse were super friendly and eased any anxiety I had during the visit. She was able to quickly identify and treat the concerns I had with my skin conditions. I also had a biopsy done which she handled quickly and… MORE “Connie Loh – Review – Jessica M. MacDougall, PA-C”

Connie Loh

I absolutely love this office. I have been going here for two years and never had a bad experience. I have worked with their esthetician, PA and Dr. Hern. They are all warm, welcoming and friendly. The front desk staff is great too. The last time I was there they went out of their way… MORE “Emily Elmer – Review – Dermatologist Dr. Ann Hern”

Emily Elmer

A great dermatology office. The staff is very professional and kind. Jessica the PA is very courteous, knowledgeable, and has great bedside manners. I felt at ease sharing my health concern and details about my experiences. Highly… MORE “Gladiola Ulqinaku – Review – Jessica M. MacDougall, PA-C”

Gladiola Ulqinaku

Beth Belesky and team at Life Time Dermatology are professional and show their commitment to your well being. I have been going there for years and I highly recommend… MORE “Dean Sellers – Review – Beth A. Belesky, PA-C”

Dean Sellers

Lifetime Dermatology is amazing! They never keep you waiting, and everyone in the office is kind and friendly. They listened to my concerns and completely changed my skin in a matter of weeks, without using unnecessary medications or costly products. Wish I would have found them years ago. Highly… MORE “Kristina Samojedny – Review – Dermatologist Dr. Ann Hern”

Kristina Samojedny

I am a long-time patient of Dr. Hern. My annual check up went smoothly (even with the COVID19 protocols). The staff is organized and knowledgeable and the service is very personalized. The new offices are spacious and clean. I felt very safe and I am glad I didn’t postpone my skin check. You won’t find… MORE “Amy Dulgerian – Review – Dermatologist Dr. Ann Hern”

Amy Dulgerian

I have been going to Lifetime Dermatology for over 4 years and all my experiences have been wonderful. Everyone is extremely personable, caring, and truly care about your results and happiness. Not to mention the wait is minimal, which is hard to find with other clinics. I will be a customer here for years to… MORE “Nadia and Jimmy – Review – Dermatologist Dr. Ann Hern”

Nadia and JImmy

This was my first time at the office and I cannot express how exceptional my experience was! Before my appointment date, the phone communication between the staff and myself was great. Every time I called before my appointment or if the office had to give me a call, it was always very clear and organized.… MORE “Helen – Review – Jessica M. MacDougall, PA-C”


The team here is fantastic and kind. See them for all of your skin issues. I’ve seen Dr. Hern, Beth and Jessica and they’re all very knowledgeable and do a great job. The staff is always kind. Never had a bad experience here. Everyone in this office is very good and they make a great… MORE “Kelly Westmoreland – Review – Dermatologist Dr. Ann Hern”

Kelly Westmoreland


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