Check your skin...If you can spot it, you can stop it.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States.
The three main types, basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and
malignant melanoma, are mainly caused by UV exposure to ultraviolet (UV)
radiation from the sun. However, skin cancer can form anywhere on the
body even if it not exposed to the sun. All ethnicities and skin tones
are at risk.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer with more than
4 million cases diagnosed each year. Squamous cell carcinoma is the second
most common with over 1 million cases each year. Melanoma is a less common
form of skin cancer with approximately 87,000 new cases each year; however,
it is more dangerous because it tends to grow and spread.
The good news is that skin cancer can be prevented, and it can almost always
be cured when it’s found and treated early.
A change in your skin is the most common sign of skin cancer. This could
be a new growth, a spot that doesn’t look like others on your body,
a sore that doesn’t heal, or a change in a mole. The “ABCDE
rule” can be used as a guide to look for some of the typical signs
of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer (See Figure 1).
Not all skin cancers look the same, so discuss any skin change concerns
you may have with your doctor.
Take these simple steps today to protect your skin:
Stay out of the sun as much as possible between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher
Put on sunscreen every 2 hours and after you swim or sweat
Cover up with long sleeves and a hat
Check your skin regularly for changes
Report any unusual moles or changes in your skin to your doctor
Mary Washington Healthcare’s Regional Cancer Center has a multidisciplinary
team of experts available to screen, diagnose and treat all types of cancers.
Please contact us at 540.741.1236 if you have questions or would like
Sources: American Academy of Dermatology, National Cancer Institute, The
Skin Cancer Foundation