Shedding Light On How To Save Yourself From Skin Cancer
While healthcare experts urge people to wear sunscreen, solar-protection clothing, and hats whenever theyre outdoors, most people only protect the most obvious parts of their body like their face and arms. They completely overlook the rest of their body and put themselves at risk. Fortunately, medical experts have shared the following smart and simple strategies for protecting yourself from skin cancer:
- Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 all over your body, from the top of your forehead to the soles of your feet, whenever youll be exposed to the sun.
- Always wear a wide-brimmed hat when outdoors.
- Examine your toenails and fingernails regularly.
- Ask your hair stylist or family member to periodically take a close look at your scalp.
- Continually reapply sunscreen every few hours when outdoors, after youve been in the water, and when youve been sweating.
- Visit a dermatologist on a regular basis for professional skin cancer screenings.
What To Look Out For Skin Cancer Signs And Symptoms
Skin cancer is often a slow growing cancer, often not raising clear, red flags. However, there are a few things to keep your eye out when it comes to the disease.
When caught early, skin cancer is highly treatable thats the good news. The bad news is that skin cancer is often slow growing and void of warning signs. Since one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime and ANYONE can get skin cancer, regardless of skin color, its important recognize the subtle indicators that should prompt a visit to the doctor.
There are two types of skin cancer: melanoma and non-melanoma. Melanoma is perhaps the most widely known of the two, however it is actually the most rare form of skin cancer. Melanoma is considered the most dangerous, as it can spread to other areas of the body, including organs. Non-melanoma cancers are less likely to spread and usually treatable with surgery.
Signs and symptoms of non-melanoma cancer: These cancers develop on the top layer of the skin and are most frequently found on the face, ears, neck and scalp. The two most common non-melanoma cancers are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinoma often appears as a hard, pearly lump. Red, wart-like bumps that bleed or are crusted are a sign of squamous carcinoma. Although both of these cancers dont spread to other areas of the body, if left untreated they can lead to disfigurement.
What Are The Risk Factors
- If you are older than 20 years of age, especially if you are over 60
- Fair complexion, inability to tan, and a history of sunburns
- Numerous moles, changing moles, or a history of atypical moles
- A personal or family history of Melanoma
- A personal or family history of Basal cell or Squamous Cell Carcinoma
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Tests Or Procedures That Examine The Skin Are Used To Diagnose Basal Cell Carcinoma And Squamous Cell Carcinoma Of The Skin
The following procedures may be used:
- Physical exam and health history: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patients health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
- Skin exam: An exam of the skin for bumps or spots that look abnormal in color, size, shape, or texture.
- Skin biopsy: All or part of the abnormal-looking growth is cut from the skin and viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer. There are four main types of skin biopsies:
- Shave biopsy: A sterile razor blade is used to shave-off the abnormal-looking growth.
- Punch biopsy: A special instrument called a punch or a trephine is used to remove a circle of tissue from the abnormal-looking growth. Enlarge Punch biopsy. A hollow, circular scalpel is used to cut into a lesion on the skin. The instrument is turned clockwise and counterclockwise to cut down about 4 millimeters to the layer of fatty tissue below the dermis. A small sample of tissue is removed to be checked under a microscope. Skin thickness is different on different parts of the body.
- Incisional biopsy: A scalpel is used to remove part of a growth.
- Excisional biopsy: A scalpel is used to remove the entire growth.
Skin Checks In The Emergency Department
The other day I had a 12-year-old patient that presented for a minor emergency. While I was listening to his lungs, I was looking at his back. Through the separation of his gown, I noticed a black, irregular-looking mole. This child was fair skinned and had a sunburn already, so I could tell he was no stranger to the sun. I looked up at his parents and mentioned that they should take their child to a dermatologist to have the mole looked at closer.
Thats funny that you mention this, the mother stated, because I wouldnt expect you to care about unusual moles in the emergency department.
As it turns out, the child was already being closely followed by a dermatologist for this mole. But her comment intrigued me. I realized that in the emergency department, as well as in other areas of medicine, providers are presented with unusual opportunities to evaluate patients for something that may never cross their minds skin checks.
Thinking back to the mother that was surprised I mentioned her sons mole, I cant help but smile. Performing skin checks may not be considered an emergency, and it may come as a surprise to your patient if you mention it. However, it is still an important aspect of staying healthy. While it might not be immediately apparent, it could be the incidental finding that saves your patients life.
Jillian Knowles, MMS, PA-C, works as an emergency medicine physician assistant in the Philadelphia area.
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Staging For Basal Cell Carcinoma And Squamous Cell Carcinoma Of The Skin Depends On Where The Cancer Formed
Staging for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the eyelid is different from staging for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma found on other areas of the head or neck. There is no staging system for basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma that is not found on the head or neck.
Surgery to remove the primary tumor and abnormal lymph nodes is done so that tissue samples can be studied under a microscope. This is called pathologic staging and the findings are used for staging as described below. If staging is done before surgery to remove the tumor, it is called clinical staging. The clinical stage may be different from the pathologic stage.
Skin Cancer Is Not Always As Clear As Day
Skin cancer is a deadly condition that can affect anyone under the sun. And few people realize that skin cancer can appear anyplace on your body, from the most noticeable areas to places you never even give a second glance. This is especially frightening because you can be walking be around with early signs that are so hidden that you arent aware until theyre discovered by a provider. There are three primary skin cancer types. The most common kind is basal cell carcinoma, with the second-most common known as squamous cell carcinoma, and the most serious type called melanoma. In Florida, the constant exposure to the strong rays of the sun greatly increases your risk of all kinds of skin cancer, so you cant afford to ignore this major health risk. Since your best protection is early detection, MD Now Urgent Care providers can examine any skin lesions you have and refer you to a dermatologist if necessary. We also wanted to share this valuable information on how to detect hidden signs of skin cancer and protect yourself properly.
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Should You Go To The Doctor Er Or Urgent Care Know When To Go Where
Still, making the correct call can be tricky, as Azar found out when she quizzed TODAYs Savannah Guthrie and Carson Daly about where they would go for medical help in certain situations. Here are four common scenarios and the correct answer for each:
1. Youre at the playground and your child falls off the swing or their hoverboard. You already see bruising, swelling and lots of pain. Where should you take your son or daughter?
Answer: Emergency room
Daly was surprised, calling urgent care “ER without the line.” But Azar explained why the ER is the best choice in this case.
If youve got a little fracture a minor fracture that requires splinting urgent care is absolutely a fantastic place to go, she said. But if you have a more significant fracture, even a compound fracture something sticking through your skin you might need a cast you may even need surgery. Not all fractures are created equal.
When it comes to children, Azar urges extra caution. If something happens on the playground, go to the emergency room because you want to have the experts taking care of the problem, she advised.
2. You have a spot on your wrist thats gotten inflamed. You knocked your watch into it and now its bleeding. What do you do?
Answer: See a doctor
We always talk about those suspicious moles or lesions on your skin that can bleed. It could be a skin cancer you go to the doctor for that, thats not something thats urgent, Azar explained.
Answer: Emergency room
Go To The Er If You Have: Heart Attack Symptoms
Women are less likely to have the stereotypical chest, left arm, or jaw pain, so you should also look for other symptoms women get, like shortness of breath sudden dizziness, weakness, or nausea or unexplained sweating and fatigue. Go to the ER if you have: Signs of stroke…like sudden numbness or weakness in a limb or one side of your face sudden speech difficulties trouble seeing out of one or both eyes unexpected dizziness or loss of balance or an excruciating, inexplicable headache.
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About Emily Carr Rn Bsn
Emily graduated from the University of Evansville with a BSN and a minor in business in 2001. Upon graduation she joined the emergency department at Jewish Hospital. Emily has been in a management role since 2009 with the opening of Medical Center Northeast and assisted in the development of the Emergency Department flex team. She has been the manager at Medical Center East since 2012 and recently acquired the Outpatient Infusion Center and is working on developing this into a full service infusion and injection location for our patients.
Can You Die From Skin Cancer If Youre Diagnosed With Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. It is classified as a non-melanoma form of the condition, and accounts for about 75 percent of all skin cancer cases. It almost never spreads beyond the original tumor site, but can do serious damage there if not treated. Mohs surgery is considered the most effective treatment technique.
Limiting sun exposure is the single most important measure for prevention of any kind of skin cancer, including BCC. The risk when outside can further by reduced by using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 to 50, wearing pants, long skirts, long-sleeved shirts, and wide-brimmed hats that provide adequate protection.
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The Most Common Dermatology Diagnoses In The Emergency Department
- Steven R. FeldmanCorrespondenceCorrespondence to: Steven R. Feldman, MD, PhD, Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Medical Center Boulevard, 4618 Country Club Rd, Winston-Salem, NC 27104Center for Dermatology Research, Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North CarolinaDepartment of Pathology, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North CarolinaDepartment of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Arch Dermatol.J Am Acad Dermatol.
International Classification of Diseases, 9th revisionPediatr Dermatol.
Cancer May Spread From Where It Began To Other Parts Of The Body
- Lymph system. The cancer gets into the lymph system, travels through the lymph vessels, and forms a tumor in another part of the body.
- Blood. The cancer gets into the blood, travels through the blood vessels, and forms a tumor in another part of the body.
The metastatic tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if skin cancer spreads to the lung, the cancer cells in the lung are actually skin cancer cells. The disease is metastatic skin cancer, not lung cancer.
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Referral To The Specialist Skin Cancer Mdt
Your GP or doctor from the Local Hospital Skin Cancer MDT will refer you to the Specialist Skin Cancer MDT if you:
- have a rare skin cancer
- have SCC or melanoma that is at higher risk of coming back or has come back
- have any type of skin cancer that has spread to another part of your body
- need treatment that the Local Hospital Skin Cancer MDT doesn’t provide
- are taking part in a clinical trial
How Uv Affects Your Skin
Skin cells in the top layer of skin produce a pigment called melanin, which gives skin its natural colour. When skin is exposed to UV radiation, more melanin is produced, causing the skin to tan. A suntan is a sign that the skin has been damaged from UV radiation. It is not a sign of good health. It is important to remember that tanning without burning can still cause skin damage, premature skin ageing and skin cancer. UV radiation can cause irreparable damage to the genes in the skin’s cells. Each time you expose your skin to UV radiation from the sun or from a solarium, you increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
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Who Gets Skin Cancer And Why
Sun exposure is the biggest cause of skin cancer. But it doesn’t explain skin cancers that develop on skin not ordinarily exposed to sunlight. Exposure to environmental hazards, radiation treatment, and even heredity may play a role. Although anyone can get skin cancer, the risk is greatest for people who have:
- Fair skin or light-colored eyes
- An abundance of large and irregularly-shaped moles
- A family history of skin cancer
- A history of excessive sun exposure or blistering sunburns
- Lived at high altitudes or with year-round sunshine
- Received radiation treatments
How Can I Expedite A Dermatology Appointment
Make an Appointment:Jennifer Walker MD
Getting in for a dermatology appointment isnt always easy especially in Cincinnati but there are a few ways to speed up the process when youre concerned.
You have to be persistent, Dr. Walker points out. And, get in to your primary care doctor first to have them take a look. If they are concerned for melanoma, they can help you expedite an appointment.
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When To See A Doctor About Skin Cancer
Many people, especially those who have fair coloring or have had extensive sun exposure, should periodically check their entire body for suggestive moles and lesions.
Have your primary healthcare professional or a skin specialist check any moles or spots that concern you.
See your healthcare professional to check your skin if you notice any changes in the size, shape, color, or texture of pigmented areas .
If you have skin cancer, your skin specialist or cancer specialist will talk to you about symptoms of metastatic disease that might require care in a hospital.
How Is Mole Mapping Done
You will be taken to a room specifically dedicated to skin examination and body mapping. But newer technology has made the process easier and more reliable. With this system, a camera sits on a rail that moves back and forth to capture a full-body scan. You will be asked by the nurse or doctor to move into very specific positions as guided by the computer to make sure the images are perfect.
Mole mapping does not replace the clinical exam you have with your family doctor plastic surgeon or dermatologist. The two are used together to help more thoroughly assess concerns related to your skin.
Having a baseline to work from is really helpful, since it can be hard for both doctors and patients to remember the exact size and look of a mole from year to year, Dr. Johnson says.
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What Is The Treatment For Skin Cancer
Treatment for basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma is straightforward. Usually, surgical removal of the lesion is adequate. Malignant melanoma, however, may require several treatment methods, including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy or immunotherapy or both. Because of the complexity of treatment decisions, people with malignant melanoma may benefit from the combined expertise of the dermatologist, a cancer surgeon, and a medical oncologist.
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What Are The Survival Rates For Melanoma
When melanoma is found and treated early, it is highly curable, with a five-year survival rate of more than 90%.
The five-year survival rate is about 70% when melanoma has spread only to the lymph nodes.
If melanoma has spread beyond the lymph nodes to other parts of the body, the five-year survival rate is about 25% but these numbers have improved. Now about 50% of adult patients treated with combination immunotherapy are expected to be alive four years after diagnosis.
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