Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. It affects more than two million Americans each year, and the numbers are on the rise. Skin cancer is the easiest cancer to cure, as long as it is diagnosed and treated early. If skin cancer is not treated early it can lead to disfigurement and even death.
Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. It occurs when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells triggers mutations, or genetic defects, that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. This DNA damage is most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds.
Anyone can get skin cancer, even those who have skin of color. Most people who get skin cancer, however, have lighter skin.
Resided in an area that gets intense sunlight, such as Florida, the Caribbean, or northern Australia.
Any length of exposure, even if it occurred years ago or was short, increases your risk.
There are also some general characteristics which may increase a person’s risk for getting skin cancer, which include:
The most common warning sign of skin cancer is a change to your skin. And the most common change is something growing on your skin. This growth can appear on the skin in many ways. The following explains the signs and symptoms of the most common types of skin cancer.
To diagnose skin cancer, a dermatologist looks at the skin. A dermatologist will carefully examine growths, moles, and dry patches.
To get a better look, a dermatologist may use a device called a dermatoscope. The device shines light on the skin. It magnifies the skin. This helps the dermatologist to see pigment and structures in the skin.
If a dermatologist finds something that looks like skin cancer, the dermatologist will remove it (or part of it). The removed skin will be sent to a lab. Your dermatologist may call this a biopsy. Skin cancer cannot be diagnosed without a biopsy. A biopsy is quick, safe, and easy for a dermatologist to perform. A biopsy should not cause anxiety. The discomfort and risks are minimal.
WHAT IS SKIN CANCER?
Skin cancer is cancer that develops in the layers of the skin. It is usually in areas that are exposed to the sun and can usually be seen or felt on the skin. Skin cancer may cover a large area, or look like a small spot. Even small spots can be dangerous because they can spread under the skin and infect other areas. There are several different types of skin cancer. The most deadly is melanoma. Other common types of skin cancer include basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.
Melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer. It can take many shapes and appearances. Melanoma is usually a dark color like brown, blue, or black. Other signs to look for include: irregular borders, asymmetry (one half looks different than the other half), and size – melanomas are usually large (bigger than a pencil eraser)
Basal cell carcinomas can be treated easily if found early. They can be red, pink, or white in color. Some are a patch of color while others are bumps which often appear shiny. Sometimes this type of cancer causes sores that never completely heal, or come back shortly after healing.
Squamous cell carcinoma usually takes on one of two forms. It may be a rough patch, or can look and feel like a wart.
WHAT CAUSES SKIN CANCER?
There are many things that may lead to skin cancer. Some of these things are out of our control, but by reducing exposure to the sun and other UV rays we can lower our chances of getting skin cancer. The things we can’t control: family history, light skin type, intensity of the sun, high altitude. The things we can control: time spent in sun, UV rays from tanning beds, amount of skin exposed to sun
CAN SKIN CANCER BE PREVENTED?
There are things we can do to lower our chances of getting skin cancer. These things are: Wear sunscreen with SPF 15 or greater, apply sunscreen 30-45 minutes before going outside, reapply sunscreen every two to three hours, stay in the shade as much as possible, wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts to protect skin from the sun, wear sun glasses, avoid the sun during the hottest parts of the day (This is when the UV rays are the strongest), and avoid tanning beds.
WHAT DOES SPF MEAN?
SPF means “Sun Protection Factor.” It is a measure of how well the sunscreen protects you from harmful UV rays from the sun. Sunscreen must be re-applied every two to three hours, even if it has a high SPF number.
Adults and children should always wear at least SPF 15.
WHAT SPF IS NEEDED TO PREVENT SKIN CANCER?
To lower the chance of skin cancer, adults and children should always wear at least SPF 15.
DO TANNING BEDS CAUSE SKIN CANCER?
Recent research says that yes, tanning beds can cause cancer. The World Health Organization strongly urges all people to avoid using tanning beds, especially those under the age of 18.
ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OFSKIN CANCER?
There are different types of skin cancer. Each type is named after which type of cell it begins in. The three most common types of skin cancer are melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.
HOW CAN I TELL IF I HAVE SKIN CANCER?
Only a doctor can tell if you have skin cancer. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you notice any unusual moles, bumps, or red patches, or if you notice a change in any moles you already have. It may be a good idea to perform a monthly self skin check. Talk to your doctor if you notice any new moles, bumps or rough patches that are unusual, or if you notice a change in any you already had. Things to look for include: changes in any moles, bumps, or rough patches, moles with a dark color (blue, black, purple, green, etc), moles that are not the same color or shade throughout, moles with irregular/wavy borders, moles that are asymmetrical (one side looks different than the other side), moles that are bigger around than the eraser on the top of a pencil, or spots that itch or bleed.
DOES SKIN CANCER HAVE SYMPTOMS?
Many times the only symptoms of skin cancer are those that can be seen or felt on the skin. Some skin cancers cause dark colored (blue, black, green, purple) moles or spots. Cancerous moles may also be large, have irregular/wavy borders, or be asymmetrical. Other skin cancers may cause red, white, or pink bumps. Sometimes these bumps are smooth and shiny. Skin cancers may also cause rough patches on the skin or spots that itch or bleed.
WHO CAN GET SKIN CANCER?
Anyone can get skin cancer. Skin cancer used to be more common among middle-aged people and the elderly, but people are now getting skin cancer in their twenties—and even their teens.
HOW IS SKIN CANCER DIAGNOSED?
If your doctor thinks you may have skin cancer, he or she will take a small piece of skin from the area. This will then be sent to a laboratory where it will be examined for signs of cancer. Your doctor may also take a small piece of tissue from lymph nodes near the area to see if the cancer has spread.
HOW IS SKIN CANCER TREATED?
Each patient’s treatment is unique and depends on the patient and how advanced their cancer is. The patient’s doctor and specialists will help determine which treatment is best. Treatment options may include: surgery, systemic chemotherapy (taken through an IV or orally), topical chemotherapy (put directly on the skin in a cream or ointment), radiation therapy, cryotherapy, immunotherapy, or laser surgery.
DO I HAVE A HIGHER CHANCE OF GETTING SKIN CANCERR IF A FAMILY MEMBER HAD IT?
If a family member had skin cancer, you may have a higher chance of getting it. Some things, such as skin type, environment, and lifestyle are similar among family members.
Follow these tips to protect your skin from the damaging effects of sun exposure and reduce your risk of skin cancer.
You can catch skin cancer early by following dermatologists’ tips for checking your skin.
The American Academy of Dermatology’s members have been providing free skin cancer screenings to the public since 1985. Watch this video to learn what happens during a screening, and visit www.aad.org to find a free screening near you.
Anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of skin color. It is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. When caught early, skin cancer is highly treatable. Through SPOTme®, the American Academy of Dermatology’s mission is to reduce the number of deaths from skin cancer in the United States by educating the public about skin cancer risk and providing free SPOTme® skin cancer screenings to catch and detect skin cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages.
Sunscreen can protect your skin against skin cancer and premature aging. However, it is not as effective unless it’s applied correctly. Follow these tips from dermatologists when applying sunscreen.
These basic tips will help you apply self-tanner so you get even coverage and longer-lasting results.
Although people of color have a lower risk of developing skin cancer than Caucasians, when skin cancer develops in people of color, it is often diagnosed at a more advanced stage – making it more difficult to treat. The good news is that there is a lot people can do to protect their skin and reduce their risk of getting skin cancer, including melanoma, the deadliest form.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and it only takes one blistering sunburn during childhood or adolescence to nearly double a person’s chance of developing melanoma – the deadliest form of skin cancer – later in life. To protect your baby from the sun, follow these tips from board-certified dermatologists.
Think applying sunscreen to your own back is easy? In this video, a UV camera quickly reveals all the spots you can miss, underscoring the importance of asking friends or loved ones for help.
Your skin can burn if it gets too much sun without proper protection from sunscreen and clothes. To help heal and soothe stinging skin, it is important to begin treating sunburn as soon as you notice it. Follow these dermatologists’ tips to help relieve the discomfort.
The men in our lives… may need a little help seeing things. Research has shown that women are NINE times more likely than men to notice melanoma on others. In addition, men assisted by women during skin exams are less likely to miss skin lesions than women assisted by men.
Outdoor workers have a higher risk for developing skin cancer. This program will help this group learn the facts about skin cancer and find out ways to protect themselves.
Skin cancer types symptoms signs treatments and melanoma prevention from Miami Beach Skin Center for Cosmetic Dermatology. Learn what basal call carcinoma squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma look like and how skin cancers are treated with Moh’s surgery.
Holly Firfer Skin looks into Cancer.
In the US, one person dies approximately every hour from melanoma skin cancer. This is sad but unnecessary, but it’s curable if you catch it early, and thus death from melanoma preventable. In this episode of DermTV, Dr. Schultz explains the ABCDE rule for detecting precancers and melanomas so you don’t end up an unfortunate and sad statistic.
Did you know that you can get skin cancer inbetween your toes? How is that possible considering the skin between your toes doesn’t get any sun exposure? In this episode of DermTV, Dr. Schultz discusses why you can get sunscreen anywhere on your body, even on the areas not exposed to the sun.