Skin cancer is by far the most common of all cancers. It affects more than two million Americans each year, and that number appears to be on the incline. However, the good news about skin cancer is that it’s relatively easy to cure. Most skin cancers that are detected early and removed are completely treatable and won’t affect a person’s quality of life in a major way. Because early detection is key to treatability, it’s important to know and recognize the warning signs and symptoms associated with skin cancer. Keep reading to find out how to protect yourself and detect the presence of skin abnormalities.
Spotting Skin Cancer
There are three main types of skin cancer
, and each has a unique appearance. We encourage you and your family to perform routine self-exams to look for signs of changes to your skin. This, along with a yearly visit to your dermatologist, is the best way to detect early signs of skin cancer. When performing self-examinations, look for changes of any kind. Also note that many skin cancers are painless, but cancerous all the same; don’t ignore an unusual spot simply because it doesn’t hurt. Below is a list of things to look for:
- A skin growth that increases in size and appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, or multicolored
- A mole, birthmark, beauty mark, or any brown spot that changes in color, size, thickness, or texture or is irregular in outline
- Any spot that is bigger than a pencil eraser
- A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode, or bleed
- An open sore that does not heal within three weeks
How To Prevent Skin Cancer
A majority of skin cancers are caused by over exposure to the sun’s UV rays. There are ways to limit exposure and enjoy the sun safely
. Always, always, always use a broad-spectrum sunblock with an SPF of 30 or higher when you spend any prolonged time outdoors, especially if you’ll be in the sun, and even if there is cloud cover. Reapply every two hours until you return indoors, and try to seek shade as often as possible. When planning outdoor events, keep in mind that the sun’s rays are strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Many types of skin cancer do not form until after adolescence; any mark or spot that develops after you turn twenty-one could be a spot to watch out for. If you find any of the above, contact your dermatologist right away.
Call May River Dermatology For Information On Skin Cancer
To learn more about skin care in the Bluffton and Hilton Head areas, call (843) 837-4400 today.
Have you ever had skin cancer? How did you discover it? We would be very interested in hearing your story!