Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. There are two types of skin cancer: non-melanoma and melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the non-melanoma types of skin cancer. These types are rarely fatal but can be very destructive to the skin where they are located. About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells. Melanomas may appear on the skin suddenly without warning, but also can develop in an existing mole. The majority of melanomas are black or brown, but they can also be skin-colored, pink, red, purple, blue or white. Melanoma is caused mainly by intense, occasional UV exposure (frequently leading to sunburn), especially in those who are genetically predisposed to the disease. The incidence of melanoma is growing at a faster rate than any other form of cancer, causing an estimated 8,790 deaths in the US annually. If melanoma is recognized and treated early, it is almost always treatable.
If you have a family history of skin cancer and have numerous moles (more than 50), it is recommended that you practice monthly head to toe self-exams to alert you to any new or changing moles. Other predisposing factors to developing skin cancer are those who have red or blonde hair, blue or green eyes, fair skin, exposure to sun through work or leisure, a history of sunburns especially early in life and a history of indoor tanning. Performed regularly, self-examination can alert you to changes in your skin and aid in the early detection of skin cancer.
Protect your skin by staying in the shade especially during mid-day hours. Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs. Wear a hat, sunglasses and a sunscreen that provides UVA and UVB protection and avoid tanning beds. Make this summer a sun-safe for your skin.
Ask our Radiant Complexions experts to perform an annual skin cancer exam for every member of your family. Schedule an appointment today.