The numbers tell it all. Skin cancer affects more than 1 million Americans annually, making it the most common form of human cancers.
Current statistics indicate one in every five Americans will develop skin cancer within their lifetime. So, what is skin cancer, in the basic sense? It is uncontrolled growths of skin cells, usually resulting from DNA damage to skin cells, particularly from sun damage, or tanning bed exposure. If you have fair skin, blue or green eyes, and red or blonde hair, you should take special precautions (see Skin Check), as you tend to be at highest risk for skin cancer.
High Risk Factors
- Excessive sun exposure
- Tanning salon exposure
- Fair skin
- Blond or red hair color
- Blue or green eyes
- Family history
- Immune suppression
- Exposure to radiation or chemicals
- Avoid excessive sun exposure, seek shade between 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
- Wear protective clothing including wide brim hat and sunglasses
- Use daily UVA/UVB sunblock SPF 30, reapply about every two hours
- Routine skin screening with provider specializing in dermatology
- Regular self examination
Signs and Symptoms of Skin Cancer
- A is for Asymmetry – One half unlike the other
- B is for Border – Irregular, scalloped or poorly defined
- C is for Color – Varied from one area to another
- D is Diameter – Greater than 6 mm
- E is for Evolving – A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing
The majority of skin cancers are composed of three different types: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma.
If you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to make an appointment with one of our practitioners.