With summer and sunny days finally here, it is important to focus less on the tan, and more on protecting ourselves from sun damage that can cause skin cancer.
Did you know that One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, and nearly 20 Americans die from melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) every day? Learn more about skin cancer, how to reduce your risk, and what to do if you think you may have it in the video and frequently asked questions below:
If you are concerned that you may have skin cancer, please give us a call to schedule an appointment today! 308-995-4431
Frequently Asked Questions:
Skin cancer is a fast-growing group of abnormal cells in the outmost layer of your skin (the epidermis) caused by unrepaired DNA damage that triggers mutations. These triggers are mainly caused by harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and tanning beds. These mutations cause skin cells to multiple rapidly and form malignant tumors.
The most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (BBC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), melanoma, and Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC).
If caught early, your provider or dermatologist can treat it with little or no scarring, and there is high probability of it being removed entirely. Often, your doctor can detect the growth at a precancerous stage.
Learn more about the different types of skin cancer here: https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/
Skin cancer is mainly caused by exposure to harmful UV rays from the sun and/or tanning beds. Protecting your skin from exposure to these sources reduces your risk.
The below is a list of risk factors that can increase your chance of skin cancer:
- Indoor Tanning
- Skin Type
- Take the quiz to find your skin type here: http://skincancer.org/blog/are-you-at-risk-for-skin-cancer/
- Unprotected Exposure to UVA & UVB Rays
- Atypical Moles
- Organ Transplant
- Red Hair
Protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays by:
- Using broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF daily (15 or higher reduces risk)
- Enjoying the shade when possible
- Wearing sun-protective clothing
- Using protective window film in your car and home
- Scheduling annual skin exams with your provider
- Doing monthly self-exams
- Eating a healthy diet
Skin cancer can appear in many shapes and sizes, this is why knowing what to look for doing your monthly self exams are important. If you see something that is new, changing, or unusual, get checked by your provider or dermatologist right away!
What to look for:
- Growths that increase in size and have a pearly, transparent, tan, brown, black or multicolored appearance.
- Moles, birthmarks, or brown spots that have changed colors or textures, have increased in size and thickness, or are bigger than a pencil eraser.
- Spots or sores that continue to itch, hurt, crust, scab or bleed.
- Open sores that do not heal within three weeks.
Did you know that about half of melanomas are self-detected? It is recommended to do self-examinations on a monthly basis.
Learn how to perform a self-examination here: https://www.skincancer.org/early-detection/self-exams/
If you believe that a growth, mole, birthmark, brown spot, sore, open wound may be skin cancer, schedule an appointment with your provider or dermatologist. They will check your area of concern, and if there is a possibility of skin cancer, they will run tests to confirm. If the test, comes back positive, they will work with you to develop the best treatment plan for you.
Yes! In addition to reducing your risk for skin cancer, protecting yourself from harmful UV rays can help you avoid premature wrinkles and fine lines, skin damage, sunburns, blotchy skin and hyperpigmentation.