Skin cancer is a the most wide-spread form of cancer within the United States, however, it is also the most preventable. We all know someone who has been affected by it and luckily for the majority of people, a simple removal of the affected tissue resolves the problem. However, if untreated, it can lead to major health problems, so it’s important we are aware and pay attention to our skin.
The easiest way to alleviate any problems is by taking the necessary prevention steps. As a sun worshiper, I understand the need to turn a golden brown and be outside as much as possible. However, if you need to be a few shades darker, do it safely. Stay out of the sun as much as possible between 10 am to 4pm, cover up if you are outside during those times, and apply sunblock and re-apply, do a self-examination once a month and a professional one once a year.
Unfortunately, sometimes with even all the prevention, skin cancer may develop. The sooner one can detect the cancer, the easier it is to remove and the less trouble it may cause. So how does one determine whether that spot on their skin is something to worry about? There are 3 major skin cancers, and below is a quick overview to spot them:
- Basal Cell Carcinoma – patch, bump, a sore that doesn’t heal or lasts more than a month
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma – wart-like growth, scaly red patch or ulcer
- Melanoma – existing or new moles that may be asymmetrical, changes in color and/or may be larger than a pencil eraser
If you see anything suspicious on your skin, seek professional advice immediately.
Depending on the cancer, the treatments may vary. I have personally had skin cancer and fortunately it was the most common type, basal cell carcinoma. The removal of it was a simple in-office excision and it healed within a few weeks. I have had clients who weren’t as lucky as I, and they required multiple treatments and chemotherapy. Skin cancer is common, but it should not be taken light-heartedly. Simple prevention can protect your and your skin for a long time.