A serious case of skin cancer makes you more susceptible to other cancers. The best way to avoid serious cases of skin cancer is to look for signs and symptoms regularly and to obtain annual examinations from a board-certified dermatologist.
During self-examinations, which should occur at least once per week, you want to look for moles, birthmarks, or other skin markings that appear to have grown in size, whether in diameter or depth.
Suspicious markings tend to have irregular borders and may be painful to the touch (though not always). They may appear as bumps similar to warts, red, pink, white, or almost clear in color, and may ooze, itch, crust over, or refuse to heal. In fact, any open sore that refuses to heal for more than two weeks in any person over the age of 50 should be examined by a dermatologist.
Skin cancer is generally caused or triggered by exposure to UV rays, either from the sun, from indoor tanning equipment, or both. Most skin cancers appear on areas of the body that receive sun exposure, but all skin cancers are capable of appearing anywhere on the body.
Protection from UV rays is essential to mitigating the danger of skin cancer. A high-quality sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 should be worn everyday over exposed areas of skin. Clothing, hats, and sunglasses should be worn to protect the arms, scalp, and eyes from UV rays.
And of course, indoor tanning equipment should be avoided at all times! A tan may look nice, but it isn’t worth the cost! Get a spray tan instead!
Skin cancer can range in seriousness from less serious to highly fatal. For example, Basal Cell Carcinoma sees up to 4 million new diagnoses each year, but survival rates are above 99%. By contrast, nearly 20 Americans die every day from Melanoma, while Merkel Cell Carcinoma has a dismal 28% survival rate in all cases.
In every case, the earlier the cancer is detected, the better the chances of survival and full recovery. In addition, any amount of UV rays increases your chances of developing skin cancer.
These facts underline the crucial role of prevention. It’s never too early to start receiving an annual examination from a board-certified dermatologist, even for a person in their teens.
Any cancer is a big deal, but keep it as small as possible. Schedule your annual exam from a dermatologist today.