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Skin Cancer Detection & Prevention

Conveniently located to serve Thousand Oaks, Carpinteria, and Santa Barbara

Detecting Skin Cancer

Monthly self examination requires a complete evaluation of the entire skin surface. Melanoma is most common on the back in men and the legs in women, but it can occur anywhere so a thorough, careful self examination is most important. Additionally, annual examination by a dermatologist can also help to identify and treat skin cancers or precancers at an early stage.

A good rule of thumb is to look for new or changing pigmented lesions or other features of BCC and SCC as described above. Malignant melanomas (MM) tend to have features described as “ABCDE”. “A” stands for asymmetry. Melanomas tend to be asymmetric in size and shape. “B” stands for borders. The borders of MM tend to be irregular, jagged or blurred. “C” stands for color. Any of the colors red, white, blue, black or variations in color are features more suggestive of MM. “D” stands for diameter, larger than 5 or 6 mm in diameter (the size of a pencil eraser). And “E” stands for evolving. Any evolving or changing pigmented lesion should be evaluated by your dermatologist. While not all melanomas share all of the characteristics of ABCDE, this is a good way to start examining your skin and a good starting point for discussion with your dermatologist.

Preventing Skin Cancer

To help protect yourself and prevent skin cancers you need to consider sunscreen and sun protective measures. Use a sunscreen with a sun-protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater on a daily basis. Scientific studies show that most people who use sunscreen apply about half as much as is necessary to get the SPF on the bottle. So if you’re like most people, when you apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 you’re probably getting an SPF of 15. You should also use sunscreen that screens out Ultaviolet A and Ultraviolet B (UVA and UVB). Not all sunscreens screen out UVA so be sure that your sunscreen specifically says that it screens out UVA or that it’s “broad spectrum.” Sun protective measures mean seeking shade when possible; wearing a hat and other clothing that protects your skin from sun damage, and trying to limit outdoor activities to the earlier and later parts of the day when UV intensity is less.

So through some simple steps we can decrease ultraviolet exposure and decrease the risk of skin cancer, and if skin cancer develops, we can identify and treat it when it’s most curable.

Risky Business

Exposure to the ultraviolet radiation of the sun is the most important factor in determining a person’s risk of skin cancer. Sunburns, sun exposure as children, genetics and immune system disorders can also play a role in skin cancer. Even the number of moles, over 50, can put you at risk. What’s your number?

Take The American Academy of Dermatology skin cancer risk factor quiz.

Complete the profile and add up your points:

Hair Color:

Blonde/Red 4
Brown 3
Black 1

Eye Color:

Blue/Green 4
Hazel 3
Brown 2

After one hour in the summer sun, your skin:

Burns, sometimes blisters 4
Burns, then tans 3
Tans 1

Your occupation:

Outside 4
Mixed 3
Inside 2

How many freckles?

Many 5
Some 3
None 1

Has anyone in your family had skin cancer?

Yes 5
No 1

Where in the United States did you grow up?

South 4
Midwest 3
North 2

Total your points to determine your risk levels:

Below average risk 10-15
Average Risk 16-22
High risk 23-25
Very high risk 26-30
Call Us
Thousand Oaks 805.497.1694
Carpinteria 805.745.1013
Santa Barbara 805.682.7874



Thomas M.

My treatment was several hours in duration. The care was provided by Samantha and Dr. Yasmeen Kabir. Both were professional, personable, and gave excellent care. I was completely satisfied. READ MORE



Dr. Kaufman was outstanding! So professional and reassuring. The nurses were so kind! I had BCC removed through Mohs surgery. I have seen doctors around the world and this was the best medical experience I have ever had. READ MORE



Dr. Kaufman and his crew were awesome. I felt comfortable during surgery, and the nurses were amazing. Dr. Kaufman is intelligent, highly skilled, attentive to details, and his dry sense of humor is funny. READ MORE

  • Dr. Andrew Kaufman

    Dr. Andrew Kaufman, MD, FACP

    All California Locations

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  • Yasmeen Kabir, MD

    Yasmeen Kabir, MD

    All California Locations

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Mohs Surgery