Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. According to Skincancer.org, more than 3.5 million skin cancer cases in over two million people are diagnosed annually.
The sad truth is that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. Over the past three decades, more people have had a type of skin cancer appear on their body than all other types of cancers combined. About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers can be attributed to over-exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radition (UV rays).
Often, skin cancer is the easiest form of cancer to find and to treat, even early malignant melanoma skin cancers have a better prognosis, when detected, diagnosed, and treated early.
Types of Skin Cancer
Here are three of the most common types of skin cancer:
Basal Cell Carcinoma
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
A yearly full skin exam, a mole check, by a Dermatologist is recommended for all person’s 40 yrs old and up and people with sun damaged skin, many moles, and other skin conditions should start younger.
Self-examinations of the skin can be performed regularly to look for skin growths, any new moles or existing ones that have changed color, increased in size, thickness, and/or texture. Other things to look for include spots or sores that continue to itch, scab, hurt or bleed, and sores that do not heal within three weeks.
Below is a chart of what to look for when you’re conducting a home self-examination of your body:
|The ABCDEs of Skin Exams|
When you are at your dermatologist for cancer screening, he or she will ask you for your medical history, followed by a head-to-toe skin exam. Dermatologists are trained to to diagnose, manage, and treat skin cancers.
During this time, it would be recommended that you ask questions about what to look for when you perform self-exams. Any spots that the doctor suspects to be cancerous will be biopsied. When a skin tissue is biopsied, it is sent to a lab where a pathologist examines the sample, then either refutes or confirms the dermatologist’s suspicions.
Here are some other ways you can to reduce the chances of getting skin cancer:
-Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths
-When you go out into the sun, cover up your skin with clothing, hats, and UV-blocking sunglasses
-Wear sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher every day
Online Resources for Skin Cancer
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