Posts for tag: Skin Cancer
During the much longed-for summer months, people work on their tans. While enjoying a richer skin tone now, tanners take huge risks for premature aging and skin cancer.
Sun and artificial tanning
It's what we use to get those tans. But, did you know that when you tan, you actually burn the top layer (epidermis) of your skin and damage your DNA, too?
According to Live Science, DNA damage mutates normal skin cells into cancer cells. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the most common kinds of skin cancer. Malignant melanoma is the most deadly skin cancer as it easily metastasizes to major body organs. About one-third of melanoma cases in the US kill their sufferers annually, says The Skin Cancer Foundation.
Unfortunately, artificial tanning is just as dangerous as sitting in the sun. Intermittent sun exposure or occasional tanning in the sun or tanning beds are harmful, too. Damage to the skin is cumulative, and both kinds of ultraviolet radiation (there are UV-A and UV-B rays) breakdown your skin's DNA over time. Further, UV-B harms your skin's natural elasticity normally provided by a protein called collagen.
Don't tan: protect
To protect your skin, avoid sunburns, intentional tanning and excessive day to day sun exposure with these strategies from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD):
- Cover up any exposed skin (face, arms, legs, ears) with a broad-brimmed hat, long-sleeves and other sun-protective clothing.
- Use sunscreen lotion--SPF 30 or higher--on all exposed skin, and re-apply every two hours or whenever you sweat it off or swim.
- Stay indoors or in the shade from 10 am to 2 pm.
Also, all adults, particularly those 40 or older, should see a dermatologist for an annual skin exam. Do a careful self-exam once a month at home, looking for changes in the color, size, and shape of existing spots or moles. Report changes to your skin doctor as well as any sore which does not heal in a week or so.
It's your skin
Don't sacrifice its health for a little fashionable color. Tanning really is bad for you. Find healthy ways to enjoy the summer months and that wonderful sun. Your skin and your overall health will be better for your efforts.
With the warmer months just around the corner you may be getting ready to plan some fun in the sun. The summertime always finds children spending hours outside playing, as well as beach-filled family vacations, backyard barbeques, and more days just spent soaking up some much-needed vitamin D.
While it can certainly be great for our emotional and mental well-being to go outside, it’s also important that we are protecting our skin against the harmful effects of the sun’s rays. These are some habits to follow all year long to protect against skin cancer,
Wear Sunscreen Daily
Just because the sun isn’t shining doesn’t mean that your skin isn’t being exposed to the harmful UVA and UVB rays. The sun’s rays have the ability to penetrate through clouds. So it’s important that you generously apply sunscreen to the body and face about 30 minutes before going outside.
Opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 that also protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Everyone should use sunscreen, even infants. Just one sunburn during your lifetime can greatly increase your risk for developing skin cancer, so always remember to lather up!
Reapply Sunscreen Often
If you are planning to be outdoors for a few hours you’ll want to bring your sunscreen with you. After all, one application won’t be enough to protect you all day long. A good rule of the thumb to follow is, reapply sunscreen every two hours. Of course, you’ll also want to apply sunscreen even sooner if you’ve just spent time swimming or if you’ve been sweating a lot (e.g. running a race or playing outdoor sports).
Seek Shade During the Day
While feeling the warm rays of the sun on your shoulders can certainly feel nice, the sun’s rays are at their most powerful and most dangerous during the hours of 10am-4pm. If you plan to be outdoors during these times it’s best to seek shady spots. This means enjoying lunch outside while under a wide awning or sitting on the beach under an umbrella. Even these simple measures can reduce your risk for skin cancer.
See a Dermatologist
Regardless of whether you are fair skinned, have a family history of skin cancer or you don’t have any risk factors, it’s important that everyone visit their dermatologist at least once a year for a comprehensive skin cancer screening. This physical examination will allow our skin doctor to be able to examine every growth and mole from head to toe to look for any early signs of cancer. These screenings can help us catch skin cancer early on when it’s treatable.
Noticing changes in one of your moles? Need to schedule your next annual skin cancer screening? If so, a dermatologist will be able to provide you with the proper care you need to prevent, diagnose and treat both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.
Maintaining your health isn't just about eating a healthy diet and exercising. It's also important to have regular checkups with your various medical practitioners, including Dr. Vernon Thomas Mackey of Advanced Desert Dermatology in Peoria, Arizona. These appointments, usually made yearly, are to check your skin for any types of skin cancer that may have developed. Below are some details about skin cancer and its treatment.
It's common knowledge that prolonged sun exposure can lead to skin cancer. That's why people with fair skin who work outside or live in sunny areas of the world are at particular risk for developing lesions. However, many people are under the impression that tanning beds are a safe alternative to the sun. This is false; tanning beds actually transmit 12 times as many UVA rays than natural sunlight. As you might have guessed, genetics also play a part in developing skin cancer. So if an immediate family member has had skin cancer, it's important to have regular checkups with Dr. Mackey at Advanced Desert Dermatology.
The various types of skin cancer often produce specific symptoms that your Peoria dermatologist has special training to recognize. In general, an existing mole that develops redness, bleeding, or swelling should be examined, as should new growths that have similar properties. You can monitor changes on your skin at home by performing self-checks in the mirror once a month. Dr. Mackey can show you the best, most thorough way to perform these skin checks on yourself or a family member.
The good news is that skin cancer, when caught early, is almost always curable. The way it's treated and managed depends on a number of factors; in general, treatment begins with surgical removal of the suspect lesion and the margins around it. The sample's properties will be evaluated in a laboratory and the results reported to your Peoria dermatologist. In many cases, no further treatment is needed. Other forms of skin cancer may require further excision or medical therapy.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Mackey, your dermatologist in Peoria, Arizona, contact Advanced Desert Dermatology today!
As summer approaches, the thought of basking in the sun may sound more than appealing, especially after a long winter. However, taking care to ensure you protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays and learning to identify skin cancer in its earliest stages is essential to your health. Find out more about skin cancer and its symptoms with Dr. Vernon Thomas Mackey at Advanced Desert Dermatology in Peoria, AZ.
What is skin cancer?
Cancer itself occurs when cells in the body begin to divide rapidly without stopping, forming a growth called a tumor. Skin cancer occurs when the cells in the skin begin dividing and cause tumors. These cells produce what appears to be a mole. However, cancerous moles have a slightly different appearance than healthy moles. Learning how to spot these differences can help you identify and treat skin cancer in its earliest, most curable stages.
The ABCDEs of Identifying Skin Cancer
Using the ABCDEs can help you determine whether you have an abnormal mole.
- Asymmetrical: Regular moles have a symmetrical shape and are the same on both sides. Cancerous moles are asymmetrical and do not appear to be fluid in shape.
- Border: The border of a normal mole is smooth and round or ovular. Cancerous moles tend to have jagged or oddly-shaped borders.
- Color: A normal mole is pink to brown in color and has only one color within its borders. Cancerous moles may have two or more colors.
- Diameter: The diameter of a normal mole is about 6 millimeters or less. A mole over 6 millimeters, or about the size of a pencil eraser, should be examined by your dermatologist.
- Evolution: Normal moles do not change in size, shape, or color. Cancerous moles evolve and change in shape, color, or size, often quickly or over the period of a few months.
Skin Cancer Treatments in Peoria, AZ
Treating skin cancer varies from patient to patient and depends on the size, severity, and location of the cancerous cells. The most common treatment for skin cancer is to remove the cancerous mole and the skin around it. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy may also be necessary. Your doctor can help you ensure that you have the best treatment for your condition.
For more information on skin cancer or its early detection, please contact Dr. Mackey at Advanced Desert Dermatology in Peoria, AZ. Call (623) 977-6700 to schedule your skin examination today!
One in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives. Skin cancers are generally curable if caught early; however, people who have had skin cancer in the past are at a higher risk of developing a new skin cancer. Regular self-examinations and visits to your dermatologist are imperative to the health of your skin.
The good news is that you can easily protect yourself and your family from skin cancer. If you catch it early enough, as well, it can be successfully treated. Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet rays. The sun is the source for much of this exposure, but can also come from man-made sources, such as indoor tanning lamps.
Detection and Prevention
It is important to monitor your skin in order to properly detect any signs of skin cancer. The key to detecting skin cancers is to monitor your skin for any changes. Even the slightest change should be taken seriously. When monitoring your skin, look for:
- Large brown spots with darker speckles located anywhere on the body
- Dark lesions on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet, fingertips, toes, mouth, nose or genitalia
- Translucent pearly and dome-shaped growths
- Existing moles that begin to grow, itch or bleed
- Brown or black streaks under the nails
- A sore that repeatedly heals and re-opens
- Clusters of slow-growing scaly lesions that are pink or red
In addition, the American Academy of Dermatology developed a guide for assessing whether or not a mole or other lesion may become cancerous. This is referred to as the ABCDE guide:
Roughly 90% of non-melanoma cancers are attributed to UV radiation from the sun. Stay out of the sun during peak hours and cover up your arms and legs with protective clothing or sunscreen. Also, check your skin monthly and contact your dermatologist if you notice any changes. If any changes do occur, make an appointment to see your dermatologist immediately. Your dermatologist will be able to assess and diagnose your skin early to begin healing.