Keeping your skin healthy is of the most upmost importance. After all, your skin serves as the barrier that protects your body from bacteria and other harmful contaminants. Like any other organ in your body, your skin can develop cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 1 in 5 Americans will be affected by skin cancer at some point in their lives. In the U.S. alone, more than 1 million people are diagnosed each year. Those numbers are staggering!
We’ve all heard time and time again that one of the best ways to protect yourself from skin cancer is to wear broad spectrum SPF every single day, even when it’s cloudy and overcast. It is also recommended that you wear sun protective clothing and hats as often as possible when you are outdoors.
Another equally important defense against skin cancer is to be aware of any changes in your skin and have regular check-ups with your dermatologist. If you find a suspicious patch of skin or an abnormal freckle or mole, schedule an appointment immediately.
There are three major types of skin cancer: Melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and Basal cell carcinoma. Squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas make up the majority of skin cancers and while malignant, they are unlikely to spread to other areas of the body. On the other hand, melanoma is a highly aggressive cancer that can spread to other areas of the body and be fatal.
Skin cancer is not necessarily identifiable with the naked eye. The area of skin in question will need to be thoroughly evaluated and tested by a dermatologist. However, there are clues you can look for when you routinely examine the health and condition of your skin:
Melanoma will appear as an irregular or asymmetrical mole or growth. These moles may also have rough, irregular edges and different shades or colors in its center. Though many skin cancers are the result of sun exposure, melanoma can appear in the armpits or bottoms of the feet. About 73% of all skin-cancer related deaths.
You can use the ABCDE method to help determine if an abnormal skin growth could be melanoma:
- Asymmetrical shape
- Border irregularities
- Color that isn’t consistent
- Diameter larger than 6 millimeters
- Evolving size or shape
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and is usually found on the head and neck. It typically appears on skin as a raised, pearly or waxy pink bump with a divot in the middle. It can also appear translucent with blood vessels near the skin’s surface.
Squamous cell carcinoma is found on the outer layer of the epidermis and appears as red, scaly skin lesions. It shows on areas of sun-exposed skin such as the hands, head, neck, lips, and ears.
The Dermatology Center of Indiana services Frankfort, Kokomo, Lafayette, West Lafayette and Lebanon along with many other cities throughout Indiana. Join us today in one of our locations where you are always welcome!
Disclaim: This blog provides general information and discussion about medical, cosmetic, mohs, and surgical dermatology. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed dermatologist or other health care worker.