Guest written by Comprehensive Cancer Centers
Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that more than 200,000 cases of skin cancer and melanoma will be diagnosed this year. In Nevada alone, more than 700 people will be diagnosed.
That is why Comprehensive Cancer Centers believes it is important to be aware of the facts about skin cancer. Understanding the risks as well as signs and symptoms will help you identify when there might be cause for concern.
About Skin Cancer
There are three major types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma. Both basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma are highly treatable. Malignant melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer and more likely to spread to other parts of the body.
Skin Cancer Risks
There are several factors which may increase a person’s risk of getting skin cancer. It’s important to take note of these risk factors and to keep an eye out for any cause for concern.
- Sunlight (UV Rays) – too much exposure to UV radiation, either from the sun or tanning lamps increases a person’s risk for melanoma.
- Fair skin – people with fair skin, freckling or red or blond hair have a higher risk of melanoma.
- Moles – certain types of moles increase a person’s chance of getting melanoma.
- Age – chances of being diagnosed with skin cancer increase as a person gets older, but skin cancer is also found in young people.
- Family history – around 10% of people with melanoma have a close relative with the disease. This may be because the family tends to spend more time in the sun or because family members have fair skin, or both.
- Immune suppression – people who have been treated with medicines that suppress the immune system have an increased chance of developing melanoma.
- History of melanoma – people who have already had melanoma have a higher risk of getting it again.
- Gender – men have a higher risk than women.
- Xeroderma pigmentation – people with this rare, inherited condition are at a greater risk of getting melanoma.
Skin Cancer Signs and Symptoms
Men and women should check their skin about once a month for any abnormalities. If you notice any changes that are worrisome, consult with a primary care provider or dermatologist. A simple rule you can follow for examining your skin each month is ABCDE:
Asymmetry – one half of the mole does not match the other half.
Border irregularity – the edges of the mole are raged or notched.
Color – the color of the mole is not the same all over. There may be shades of tan, brown or black and sometimes patches of red, white or blue.
Diameter – the mole is wider that about ¼ inch.
Evolution – Change over time.
Treatment for Skin Cancer
Treatment options vary for the different stages and various types of skin cancer. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Each treatment option may be used alone or in combination.
Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help
The physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for skin cancers, as well as blood disorders, breast health conditions, lung diseases and sleep disorders. If you or a loved one could benefit from our services, call 702-952-3350 to schedule an appointment today. Comprehensive is also now offering telemedicine.
The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.