May is skin cancer awareness month, a perfect time to speak about facts, prevention and the importance of regular self exams and annual skin checks with a Dermatologist. Read on to learn more about skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States, and how to prevent it! (The American Cancer Society)
Skin Cancer Facts:
Did you know?
- 20% of Americans will develop skin cancer
- Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma
- The Melanoma early detection five-year survival rate in the United States is 99%
- More than 2 people die of skin cancer every hour
- 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70
- 15,000+ Americans die each year from Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Statistics and facts provided by the Skin Cancer Foundation (SkinCancer.org)
3 Most Common Types of Skin Cancer:
The three main types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. All three are mostly due to sun exposure (UV rays), with basal cell carcinoma being the most common. Click here to read the warning signs of these skin cancers.
Basel Cell Carcinoma: The Most Common Skin Cancer
Basal cell carcinoma is an abnormal growth of cells found in the lower layer of the epidermis. These cells are most commonly found on sun-exposed areas such as the face, scalp, neck, hands, arms, and shoulders. They typically form a slow-growing lesion that does not heal and bleeds easily.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common skin cancer. Like basal cell carcinomas, they are also found in areas that are exposed to the sun such as the head, neck, lips, or outer ear. They are different from basal cell carcinomas in the way they appear on the skin.
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. However, if caught early, it can be treated very easily with a 98% cure rate. Melanoma arises from the melanocytes (pigment cells) in your skin, again mostly caused by sun exposure. The UV rays target the melanocytes and cause mutations in the cells. Those mutations cause the cells to form very quickly, producing malignant tumors. Melanoma can form its own mole or can be found in an existing mole. Genetics can play a role as well, but people that are more prone to forming melanoma are those who are fair-skinned with red hair, those who have freckles, and people that easily sunburn. The warning signs are different from basal and squamous cell carcinomas.
Skin Cancer Prevention:
- Use a broad spectrum SPF of 30 or higher applied 20 minutes prior to sun exposure and re-applied every 2 hours.
- Still unsure about sunscreen? Click to learn more about sunscreen ingredients and how to properly apply it!
- Seek shade between 10 AM and 4 PM
- Wear sun-protective clothing such as broad-brimmed hats, sunglasses with UV protection, swim shirts
- Get yearly skin exams by a dermatology expert- Dermatologists can detect early signs of skin cancer before they spread!
- Check your skin once a month with a self exam. See a Dermatologist if you notice any changes or suspicious spots!
- Avoid sunburn
- Avoid tanning beds
Skin cancer can be cured, but it’s important to be vigilant and check your skin on a regular basis so it can be treated early. At Advanced Specialty Care, our dermatology specialists are skilled at early detection of skin cancer and provide skin cancer screenings, diagnosis and treatment. Schedule your annual skin check with one of our Dermatologists today!
At our dermatology offices, dermatologists Dr. Kenneth Egan, Dr. Rand Werbitt and Sarah Tullo, APRN specialize in all of your family’s skincare needs in general medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology. Our offices are located in the Fairfield County, CT towns of Danbury, Norwalk, Ridgefield, and Stamford.