Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…whatever season you call your favorite and whatever the reason you spend time outside, your skin is bombarded by the the sun’s damaging UV and UVB rays. That means it’s prematurely aging, wrinkles are forming and skin cancer may be lurking.
When abnormal cells develop and invade or spread to other parts of the body, that’s skin cancer at work. There are three types of skin cancer:
- Basal cell…is a slow growing cancer which is unlikely to spread to distant areas of the body or cause death. It appears as a painless, sometimes shiny raised area of the skin
- Squamous cell…is more likely to spread. It appears as a hard lump with a scaly top
- Melanoma…is the most aggressive. Moles that have changed in size, color or shape or are itchy or bleed are some of the signs of melanoma.
Some skin cancer FYI’s:
- As you age, it is important to have your skin checked at least once a year for any changes or abnormalities, to have any pre-cancerous lesions treated and to examine any new or otherwise suspicious growths.
- People with many moles have a higher risk of melanoma.
- Other risk factors include advanced age, heredity, light skin color and exposure to tanning beds.
- Sunscreen helps block the rays than lead to skin cancer but it does not prevent it…sun damage is cumulative.To be effective, however, sunscreen must be worn and not just carried in your beach bag! (And, don’t forget to apply it to your hands and neck).
- Choose a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays because both are damaging to your skin.
- Smoking wreaks havoc with your skin generally; quit if you can.
- Over one million people in the U.S. each year are diagnosed with skin cancer. Unfortunately, many more go undiagnosed.
- Skin cancer is serious, but most skin cancers, if found early, are treatable.
If you are concerned that you may have a cancerous lesion or are interested in speaking with Dr. Dunn about your skin and the many services we offer, call us at 508.334.5990.