Cancer can affect any part of the body and occurs when cells within the body grow out of control. When cancer begins in the skin, it is called skin cancer. Did you know, more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the United States than all other cancers combined? Although some people are at higher risk of the condition than others, it can affect anyone of any age.
Studies have found that excessive sun exposure is the key contributing factor to the development of skin cancer. Skin cancer primarily affects areas of the body that are most often exposed to the sun. This includes the scalp, face, ears, lips, neck, chest, hands, feet and forearms. However, this doesn’t mean that it cannot be found anywhere else.
We understand just how important it is to properly protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun. In light of it being Skin Cancer Awareness Month, we are delighted to be able to offer 20% off all of our sunscreen products during the months of May and June. To take advantage of this offer, please call our offices in Deerfield Beach where our team will be happy to help you. You can also shop our products online.
In the meantime, here is what you need to know about skin cancer awareness and what can be done should you be unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with this common cancer.
Am I At Increased Risk of Skin Cancer?
While skin cancer can affect anyone, there are certain demographics of people who are at greater risk of developing the disease. There are many factors that may increase your risk of skin cancer. Some of the most common include:
Fair skin. This is because people with fair skin have less pigment (melanin) in their skin which means that they have less protection from damaging UV radiation. As such, patients with fair skin, blond or red hair and light-colored eyes are more likely to develop skin cancer.
A history of sunburn. Even just one episode of sunburn can increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
Excessive exposure to the sun. The more time you spend outdoors with your skin unprotected, the more likely you are to develop cancerous skin cells.
Using sunbeds/tanning lamps. Dermatologists and doctors everywhere continue to stress the link between sunbed use and skin cancer. If you want to achieve good color without going outside, opt for a spray tan instead.
Moles. People who have many moles are at increased risk of developing skin cancer. It is important that you monitor your moles carefully for any unusual changes to them, and if you notice any, that you get checked out right away.
People with a family or personal history of skin cancer, a weakened immune system or who have been diagnosed with pre-cancerous skin lesions are also more likely to go on to develop skin cancer.
Types of Skin Cancer
There are various types of skin cancer, but three are particularly common. These are known as:
Basal Cell Carcinomas
Squamous Cell Carcinomas
Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas can usually be treated successfully. There are multiple treatment options that should be discussed with your dermatologist.
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and the American Cancer Society estimates that around 96,480 new melanomas will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2019 alone.
Which type of skin cancer you have and how far cancer has spread will impact which type of treatment you receive.
Signs And Symptoms of Skin Cancer
Skin cancers can take various different forms. Therefore, it is important to know your own body and skin and to seek advice immediately if you notice any changes. It is far better to be safe than be faced with skin cancer that has been left to grow. Some of the signs and symptoms of skin cancer to look out for include the following:
Symptoms of basal cell carcinomas and/or squamous cell carcinomas
Lumps or areas of skin that:
are smooth and pearly
feel itchy and bleed sometimes
develop a scab or crust
never fully heal
look like a pale, non-healing scar
look pink or red
feel tender to the touch
Symptoms of melanoma
The first sign of melanoma is a new spot on the skin, or a change in the size, shape or color of an existing mole. Experts recommend patients use the ABCDE method to determine if there is cause for concern. This is:
A= Asymmetry. The mole has an irregular shape.
B= Border. The border of the mole is not smooth.
C= Color. The mole has changed color, has an uneven color or dark spots.
D= Diameter. The mole has grown to larger than the size of a pencil eraser or greater than 6mm in diameter
E= Evolving. The shape, size, color or texture of the mole is continuing to evolve.
Treatment For Skin Cancer
You will first need to have your skin cancer diagnosis confirmed before treatment can begin. Depending on the grade of cancer you are diagnosed with, your treatment options could include surgical skin cancer removal, and/or Superficial Radiotherapy. Your dermatologist will be able to make a recommendation as to which treatment is right for you.
Superficial Radiotherapy (SRT) is one form of skin cancer treatment and something that we are able to offer to patients here at our offices in Deerfield Beach, FL. SRT uses precisely focused beams of radiation to treat tumors, with no need for incisions and surgical recovery. These beams of radiation target the DNA within the cancerous cells so that they can no longer reproduce, preventing cancer from spreading. Eventually, skin cancers begin to shrink and will eventually disappear. The radiation is applied with total precision so that there is minimal damage to surrounding tissues too, making it extremely safe and effective. If you are interested in finding out more about SRT, please don’t hesitate to speak to our team.
If you are concerned about skin cancer, or if you have further questions, we would be delighted to assist. Our experienced team at Green Dermatology & Cosmetic Center extend their skin care services to patients in Deerfield Beach, Lighthouse Points, Boca Raton, Pompano Beach and beyond. Please contact our offices in Deerfield Beach, FL at (954) 947-4500 to arrange your confidential consultation.