Looking at Ways to Prevent Skin Cancer

skin cancerDr. Hussain is a premier Mohs surgeon who has extensive training in a very precise technique for skin cancer removal. In our practice, patients can find the level of care they need to gain peace of mind moving forward in skin cancer treatment. While we dedicate a great deal of time to treating basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas and melanoma, we also find it important to inform our patients of how these skin cancers can develop. This way, they can harness their own powers for prevention.
Skin cancer remains one of the leading types of cancer, claiming thousands of lives every year (and those are non-melanoma cases).

Deaths related to melanoma number close to 10,000 annually. Perhaps the most tragic aspect of skin cancer deaths is that this disease is preventable. More than 90 percent of cases are directly linked to sun exposure or indoor tanning, where UV light is even more dangerous.

Fortunately, methods of early detection have been established. All you have to do is maintain annual screenings with your dermatologist.

What to do besides Screening
Skin cancer screenings are vital to the early detection of suspicious lesions. However, they are not intended to prevent skin cancer altogether. This is up to you, and it comes down to a few good habits. Fortunately, they are also simple.

  • Practice healthy sun habits. There is a lot of confusion about how to protect skin from UV damage. Do you wear sunscreen all day every day, or is your SPF moisturizer sufficient? Is sunscreen itself the real culprit? Doesn’t dark skin have its own built-in protection? The fact is, every person has a unique risk for skin cancer. Darker skin is more protected, yes. But that does not mean there is no risk. The best bet is to wear SPF 30 sunscreen when you plan to be outdoors during peak hours. Early morning sunlight is actually good for the body, facilitating the proliferation of vitamin D.
  • Side note . . . Indoor tanning is not an alternative to sunlight. It exposes skin to very harmful UV light and can substantially increase the risk of all kinds of skin cancer.
  • Self examination is the best way to detect changes to existing moles, as well as new growths. This thorough skin check should be performed monthly. You can learn how to perform self-examinations from your dermatologist.

Here is what you are looking for:

  • New growths.
  • Enlargement of any mole or growth.
  • A sore that will not go away.
  • Textural, color, or shape changes
  • Itching, bleeding, pain, or crusting.

Any changes to a mole should be quickly evaluated by your dermatologist. There is no “wait and see.” Remember, early detection is the key to successful treatment.

Posted in: Skin Cancer

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