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What To Know About Skin Cancer

How Often Should I Be Screened For Skin Cancer

What you need to know about skin cancer

At this point in time, there is not an established timeline or age recommendation for clinical skin cancer screenings. The U.S. Preventative Task Force has concluded that there is not enough evidence to support a recommendation for or against routine screenings for those who do not have a history of personal skin cancer. That being said, however, at One Medical, our team is here to support you in your personal health journey and develop a care plan tailored to your unique needs. Whether you have a mole you are suspicious about or would simply like to make a skin exam part of your regular preventative care, our team is happy to help. If you have a personal or family history of skin cancer, or are at high risk of the disease, you should have a discussion with your provider about how often you should have your skin checked. You can also do a self-check of your skin at any time. Be sure to check every part of your skin, including areas that may not be regularly exposed to the sun, such as your scalp, behind the ears, under your arms, between your toes, and between your buttocks. It helps to use a full length mirror and a hand mirror to inspect any hard to reach areas. You may also want to jot down any observations or notes so that you can track the development of any moles, growths, or suspicious spots over time.

Symptoms Of Skin Cancer

Skin cancers arent all identical, and they may not cause many symptoms. Still, unusual changes to your skin can be a warning sign for the different types of cancer. Being alert for changes to your skin may help you get a diagnosis earlier.

Watch out for symptoms, including:

  • skin lesions: A new mole, unusual growth, bump, sore, scaly patch, or dark spot develops and doesnt go away.
  • asymmetry: The two halves of the lesion or mole arent even or identical.
  • border: The lesions have ragged, uneven edges.
  • color: The spot has an unusual color, such as white, pink, black, blue, or red.
  • diameter: The spot is larger than one-quarter inch, or about the size of a pencil eraser.
  • evolving: You can detect that the mole is changing size, color, or shape.

Who Is At Risk For Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer

A risk factor is anything that may increase your chance of having a disease. The exact cause of someones cancer may not be known. But risk factors can make it more likely for a person to have cancer. Some risk factors may not be in your control. But others may be things you can change.

The most common risk factors for nonmelanoma skin cancer include:

  • Greater amount of time spent in the sun
  • The use of tanning booths and sunlamps
  • Certain features, such as fair skin, light hair , and green, blue, or gray eyes
  • Lots of freckles
  • HPV infection
  • Certain rare inherited conditions, such as xeroderma pigmentosum

Talk with your healthcare provider about your risk factors for nonmelanoma skin cancer and what you can do about them.

Recommended Reading: How Much Is Skin Cancer Screening

Basal And Squamous Cell Skin Cancer Pictures / Cervical Cancer

Having fun in the sun sounds like a great idea. Some types of skin cancer are more dangerous than others, but if you have a spot. Lung cancer has two broad types: Skin cancers do not often cause bothersome symptoms until they have grown quite large. Whether you or someone you love has cancer, knowing what to expect can.

Things You Need To Know About Skin Cancer

What You NEED to Know About Skin Cancer This Summer: SINY ...

Skin cancer is one of the most important things I speak to my patients about, especially because Arizona has some of the highest rates in the country. In fact, a joint report by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that in 2009, more than 1400 people living here were diagnosed with melanoma.

Yet regardless of where you live, how much time you spend in the sun, and how fair your skin is, youre at risk for skin cancer.

Here, read on for 5 things I tell my patients that you need to know too.

5 Things to Know

  • More people are getting skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. There are more cases of skin cancer than breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer combined. With approximately two million people who are diagnosed each year, its also on the rise.
  • Some people have a higher risk than others. Although anyone can have skin cancer, people with fair skin, red or blonde hair, and blue eyes have a higher risk. Family history is risk factor, too. About 10 percent of people with melanoma have a family member who was also diagnosed.
  • The types matter.
  • Actinic Keratosis is a pre-skin cancer that shows up as scaly, pink lesions that can flake or scratch off. Actinic Keratosis is usually treated with cryotherapy, an in-office procedure that freezes the growths. Left untreated, up to 10 percent can become squamous cell carcinomas , a more serious form of skin cancer.
  • B Irregular borders
  • Also Check: How Often Does Basal Cell Carcinoma Recur

    Preventive Measures For Skin Cancer

    Now that we know that skin cancer is one of the cancer types which can be easily prevented, here are some amazing preventive measures which you can try for skin care.

    With some amazing ways, you can prevent skin cancer and keep you risk free form such issues! Dont forget to follow these cool remedies to keep skin cancer away from you!

    If you live in an area which always is heated to high temperatures, you must consider all the risks and causes which can get you affected from cancer. It is amazing to get a sun bath on your favorite beach sleeping on the Jacuzzis but while having this fun, you must need to consider the risks of getting affected with skin cancer!

    Thus, protect your skin from cancer with these amazing preventive measures and live a healthy life!

    The Five Stages Of Skin Cancer

    Cancer in the skin thats at high risk for spreading shares features with basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Some of these features are:

    • Not less than 2 mm in thickness
    • Has spread into the inner layers of the skin
    • Has invaded skin nerves

    Stage 0

    In the earliest stage, cancer is only present in the upper layer of the skin. You may notice the appearance of blood vessels or a dent in the center of the skin growth. There are no traces of malignant cells beyond this layer.

    Stage 1

    At stage 1, cancer has not spread to muscles, bone, and other organs. It measures roughly 4/5 of an inch. Theres a possibility that it may have spread into the inner layer of the skin.

    Stage 2

    In this stage, cancer has become larger than 4/5 of an inch. Cancer still has not spread to muscles, bone, and other organs.

    Stage 3

    At stage 3, the cancer is still larger than 4/5 of an inch. Facial bones or a nearby lymph node may have been affected, but other organs remain safe. It may also spread to areas below the skin, such as into muscle, bone, and cartilage but not far from the original site.

    Stage 4

    Cancer can now be of any size and has likely spread into lymph nodes, bones, cartilage, muscle, or other organs. Distant organs such as the brain or lungs may also be affected. In rare cases, this stage might cause death when allowed to grow and become more invasive.

    Read Also: How Long For Skin Cancer To Develop

    What Tests Are Used To Stage Melanoma

    There are several tests your doctor can use to stage your melanoma. Your doctor may use these tests:

    • Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy: Patients with melanomas deeper than 0.8 mm, those who have ulceration under the microscope in tumors of any size or other less common concerning features under the microscope, may need a biopsy of sentinel lymph nodes to determine if the melanoma has spread. Patients diagnosed via a sentinel lymph node biopsy have higher survival rates than those diagnosed with melanoma in lymph nodes via physical exam.
    • Computed Tomography scan: A CT scan can show if melanoma is in your internal organs.
    • Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan: An MRI scan is used to check for melanoma tumors in the brain or spinal cord.
    • Positron Emission Tomography scan: A PET scan can check for melanoma in lymph nodes and other parts of your body distant from the original melanoma skin spot.
    • Blood work: Blood tests may be used to measure lactate dehydrogenase before treatment. Other tests include blood chemistry levels and blood cell counts.

    What Are The Signs Of Skin Cancer

    What You Should Know About Skin Cancer

    Learning the ABCDEs of skin cancer is important in identifying, treating and preventing skin cancer, says Dr. Vinod Nambudiri a dermatologist in the Department of Dermatology at Brigham and Womens Hospital. People can look for signs of skin cancer in moles or skin lesions using these letters, and a self skin exam is quick, easy and free.

    A Asymmetry: One half is unlike the other half.

    B Borders: Irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border

    C Color: Varied from one area to another

    D Diameter: Diameter of 6mm or larger

    E Evolution: Looks different from the rest, or is changing in size, color, or shape

    Recommended Reading: How To Remove Skin Cancer On Face

    The Early Stages Of Skin Cancer

    Some forms of cancer, especially melanoma, may appear suddenly and without warning. Most people become alarmed only when they develop a crust or sore that refuses to heal. Did you know that the early stages of cancer do not always look or feel so bad? Harmless-looking moles, skin lesions, or unusual skin growths may also be the signs of early stages.

    Regular skin examination can help you spot these early clues. If you see anything suspicious or observe unusual appearances in your skin, we can help you get the right diagnosis and treatment immediately. Some forms of cancer in the skin can be life-threatening and spread without being given urgent attention.

    How To Spot Skin Cancer

    Skin cancer is by far the most common type of cancer. If you know what to look for, you can spot warning signs of skin cancer early. Finding it early, when its small and has not spread, makes skin cancer much easier to treat.

    Some doctors and other health care professionals include skin exams as part of routine health check-ups. Many doctors also recommend that you check your own skin about once a month. Look at your skin in a well-lit room in front of a full-length mirror. Use a hand-held mirror to look at areas that are hard to see.

    Use the ABCDE rule to look for some of the common signs of melanoma, one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer:

    AsymmetryOne part of a mole or birthmark doesnt match the other.

    BorderThe edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.

    ColorThe color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue.

    DiameterThe spot is larger than ¼ inch across about the size of a pencil eraser although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this.

    EvolvingThe mole is changing in size, shape, or color.

    Basal and squamous cell skin cancers are more common than melanomas, but they are usually very treatable.

    Both basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas, or cancers, usually grow on parts of the body that get the most sun, such as the face, head, and neck. But they can show up anywhere.

    Basal cell carcinomas: what to look for:

    Squamous cell carcinomas: what to look for:

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    Why Should I Be Concerned About Skin Cancer

    Skin cancer can happen at any stage in life and affects both men and women. Approximately one in five Americans are expected to develop skin cancer in their lifetime. While nonmelanomas are generally treatable if detected early, melanomas are more dangerous. It is estimated that in 2020, there will be 100,350 cases of melanoma diagnosed in the United States with 6,850 people expected to die from it.

    Living With Skin Cancer

    Everything You Need to Know About Skin Cancer

    Being diagnosed with skin cancer is a life-changing experience. You will start to rethink the simple things you do each day that take a toll on your skin.

    The most important thing you can do after being diagnosed with skin cancer is continue to monitor your health. Its possible the cancer will spread further throughout the body. Any changes in your health, physical or mental, should be addressed with your doctor in order to keep track of your condition.

    You should also be more mindful of how you treat your skin. Protecting your body with sunscreen and reapplying throughout the day should become a habit you do all year round. Be mindful of how much time youre spending in the sun and how exposed your body is, especially in the summer when the UV rays are strong.

    A cancer diagnosis can take a serious toll on your mental wellbeing. Talk to someone about how youre dealing with the diagnosis and consider meeting with other people who have gone through the same experience. Dont be afraid to ask for help and remember to make your health a priority.

    Recommended Reading: What Is Stage 2 Melanoma Skin Cancer

    What Skin Cancer Looks Like

    Skin cancer appears on the body in many different ways. It can look like a:

    • Changing mole or mole that looks different from your others

    • Dome-shaped growth

    • Non-healing sore or sore that heals and returns

    • Brown or black streak under a nail

    It can also show up in other ways.

    To find skin cancer on your body, you dont have to remember a long list. Dermatologists sum it up this way. Its time to see a dermatologist if you notice a spot on your skin that:

    • Differs from the others

    • Itches

    • Bleeds

    To make it easy for you to check your skin, the AAD created the Body Mole Map. Youll find everything you need to know on a single page. Illustrations show you how to examine your skin and what to look for. Theres even place to record what your spots look like. Youll find this page, which you can print, at Body Mole Map.

    What Does Skin Cancer Look Like

    Basal cell carcinoma

    • BCC frequently develops in people who have fair skin. People who have skin of color also get this skin cancer.

    • BCCs often look like a flesh-colored round growth, pearl-like bump, or a pinkish patch of skin.

    • BCCs usually develop after years of frequent sun exposure or indoor tanning.

    • BCCs are common on the head, neck, and arms however, they can form anywhere on the body, including the chest, abdomen, and legs.

    • Early diagnosis and treatment for BCC are important. BCC can grow deep. Allowed to grow, it can penetrate the nerves and bones, causing damage and disfigurement.

    Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin

    • People who have light skin are most likely to develop SCC. This skin cancer also develops in people who have darker skin.

    • SCC often looks like a red firm bump, scaly patch, or a sore that heals and then re-opens.

    • SCC tends to form on skin that gets frequent sun exposure, such as the rim of the ear, face, neck, arms, chest, and back.

    • SCC can grow deep into the skin, causing damage and disfigurement.

    • Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent SCC from growing deep and spreading to other areas of the body.

    SCC can develop from a precancerous skin growth

    • People who get AKs usually have fair skin.

    • AKs usually form on the skin that gets lots of sun exposure, such as the head, neck, hands, and forearms.

    • Because an AK can turn into a type of skin cancer, treatment is important.

    Melanoma

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    Who Gets Skin Cancer

    Caucasians are at greater risk of developing skin cancer than people with darker skin. The risk of skin cancer is also higher for individuals with blond or red hair, blue or green eyes, or fair skin that burns or freckles easily.

    Skin cancer risks increase as you age, likely due to accumulated UV radiation from sun exposure.

    People who live in areas with bright, year-round sun exposure, or those who spend a lot of time outdoors without sun protection or sunscreen, are at greater risk. Early exposure, particularly for people who had frequent sunburns during childhood, also increases skin cancer risks. Skin cancers may also be found in younger individuals who spend a lot of time in the sun. Doctors often recommend a broad spectrum sunblock with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher and protective clothing as forms of skin cancer prevention.

    Men are twice as likely to develop basal cell carcinomas and three times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinomas than women.

    How Much Do Factors Like Sun Exposure Ethnicity And Age Affect An Individuals Risk Of Skin Cancer

    Skin Cancer – What You Need To Know

    A person’s lifetime exposure to UV rays from sunburns, tanning booths, and chronic sun exposure is a major risk factor for all types of skin cancer. Those with fair skin are at higher risk because they have less pigment in their skin to protect them from damaging ultraviolet rays. However, it is really important for those with more darkly pigmented skin to know the signs of skin cancer and check their skin too, because although at lower risk, they are not immune. In terms of age, those with older skin have accumulated more damage from the sun, and BCC and SCC typically affect individuals who are middle-aged or older. Melanoma is more “equal-opportunity.” We see cases throughout life, including in the late teens or early 20s, especially in young women who have used indoor tanning.

    Read Also: How To Tell If It’s Skin Cancer

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