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Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC Blog

Why are Regular Skin Cancer Checks Important for Healthy Skin?

[fa icon="calendar"] Nov 9, 2021 12:28:20 PM / by Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC

Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC

Did you know that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer? At the Dermatology Center for Skin and Health, PLLC, we believe that regular skin checks are imperative to anyone’s health because if skin cancer is caught early, it is generally curable.

Unfortunately, skin checks are examinations that often get overlooked. Even if you take great care of your skin and skin cancer does not run in your family, it can still affect you. Continue reading to learn more about why regular skin cancer checks are essential for healthy skin.

WHAT IS SKIN CANCER?

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. It affects more than one million Americans each year, meaning that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their life. Skin cancer is caused by the out-of-control growth of abnormal skin cells. It occurs when the DNA in your skin cells is damaged, usually by ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF SKIN CANCER?

Skin cancer is categorized into two categories: non-melanoma skin cancer and melanoma skin cancer.

Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer

The most common type of skin cancer is Basal Cell Carcinoma, which frequently develops in those who have fair skin. This type of skin cancer is found in the deepest layer of your epidermis (outer layer of skin) and can develop from years of unprotected sun exposure or indoor tanning.

Another common skin cancer is Squamous Cell Carcinoma, which develops from too much sun exposure and develops in both light and dark skin. It is essential that SCC is caught early, as cancer can be disfiguring or even deadly. This type of skin cancer can develop from actinic keratosis.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma, Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma and Sebaceous Carcinoma are all considered rarer types of non-melanoma skin cancer.

Melanoma Skin Cancer

Melanoma, which is considered the most serious of all skin cancers, is dangerous because it is known to spread. Melanoma most commonly develops in a mole but can sometimes appear as a new dark spot on the skin.

The risk of melanoma is drastically increased with every sunburn you get. If you have had more than five sunburns, your risk of melanoma has doubled. If it is caught early, patients have an excellent outlook. However, melanoma can spread to other parts of the body, which makes it crucial to find it before it spreads. Thus, frequent skin cancer checks are necessary.

WHAT CAUSES SKIN CANCER?

Anyone can develop skin cancer, but it is necessary to recognize that skin cancer is often caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, tanning beds and or sunlamps. Additional factors that increase your chances include:

  • Fair skin
  • History of severe sunburns
  • History of radiation therapy
  • Personal or family history of skin cancer
  • Individuals on immune-suppressing drugs
  • Exposure to high levels of arsenic
  • Inherited syndromes that cause skin cancer

WHAT ARE THE WARNING SIGNS OF SKIN CANCER?

It can be challenging to detect skin cancer, especially if you are unaware of what to look for. Below are some of the most common signs that you may have developed skin cancer:

  • New, large, brown spots (can be mistaken for a large freckle)
  • Pearly and dome-shaped growths
  • Dark lesions
  • Brown or black streaks under the nails
  • Existing moles that begin to become more noticeable (grow, bleed, itch, etc.)
  • Slow-growing scaly lesions that grow in clusters

You should use the ABCDE method to monitor the changes in your moles.

  • A: Asymmetrical
  • B: Border
  • C: Color
  • D: Diameter
  • E: Evolving

HOW CAN I PREVENT SKIN CANCER?

Some precautions that can be taken to prevent skin cancer are staying out of the sun during peak hours, wearing a hat and sunglasses, using a sunscreen of 30 SPF or higher year-round and remembering to reapply sunscreen/sunblock every two hours while in the sun. It is also crucial to avoid tanning beds and to wear protective clothing.

Keep in mind that skin cancer may not affect the way you physically feel. You can feel well and have an unusual spot that doesn’t itch or hurt; that is why it is urgent to continue your monthly skin cancer self-exams and your annual skin examinations with your dermatologist.

At the Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC, our dermatologists know precisely what to look for and understand the warning signs of skin cancer. Sometimes, skin cancer can’t be seen by the naked eye. That’s why it’s essential to have a professional check your skin once a year. Your dermatologist wants to help you develop an excellent preventive skin care routine that reduces your risk of pre-cancers and skin cancers. Make sure to report any unusual moles or changes in your skin to your doctor. Also, talk to your doctor if you are at increased risk of skin cancer.

Donna Ricciuti was a patient at the Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC. Watch and learn how our team was able to catch Donna’s Melanoma early and treat it here.

SKIN CANCER CHECKS | THE DERMATOLOGY CENTER FOR SKIN HEALTH, PLLC

At the Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC, our primary goal is to help our patients develop life-long skin care habits that keep them cancer-free. In addition, we create positive relationships with our patients, making annual skin checks a comfortable experience.

Skin cancer can affect both males and females of any skin color and any age. If you recognize any changes in your skin, or if a particular spot morphs, forms, bleeds or itches, please do not hesitate to give our office a call. We can help you schedule an appointment or answer any questions about a spot that you may think could be cancer. You can schedule an appointment and reach our office at 304-598-3888.

 

Resources:

What is Skin Cancer?

Topics: Skin Cancer

Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC

Written by Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC

Our priority is to deliver complete, compassionate care to our patients while educating and assisting them as they make care decisions regarding the health and beauty of their skin.