Over 5 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. While it’s one of the most common forms of cancer in the U.S., it’s also one of the most preventable cancer types.
What You Need To Know About Skin Cancer
Like most types of cancer, treatment outcomes for skin cancer are most likely to be better if the cancer is detected and treated earlier.
Here are some important facts about skin cancer that you should know about:
Most types of skin cancer are caused by ultraviolet (UV) light
UV light is part of the natural energy produced by the sun. Because of its shorter wavelength, we can’t see it.
There are two types of UV light that are proven to increase one’s risk of skin cancer – ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB).
Unprotected exposure to these UV lights can damage the DNA of the skin cells, cause mutations, and skin cancer.
You can protect yourself from skin-damaging UV light by using a broad-spectrum sunscreen, sun-protective clothing, hats, and eyewear.
There are other factors that can increase your risk of skin cancer.
Smoking, a compromised immune system, and exposure to chemicals like industrial tar and arsenic can increase your risk of skin cancer.
Skin cancer can develop anywhere on your body.
Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, can develop anywhere on the body including the scalp, eyes, nails, and feet. The development of melanomas in these areas is more common in people with dark skin.
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Skin Cancer
For melanoma, here are the signs to watch out for:
A mole that changes in color, size, or feel (or one that bleeds)
A large brownish spot with darker speckles
A lesion that’s painful, itches, or burns
A small lesion with a darker border
For basal cell carcinoma, one may notice the following:
A flat, flesh or brown-colored lesion that may look like a scar
A waxy or pearly bump
A scabbing sore that keeps on coming back (heals and returns)
Squamous cell carcinoma, which usually appears on sun-exposed areas, may present itself with the following signs:
A flat lesion with a scaly and crusty surface
A firm, red nodule
Treating Skin Cancer
Options for treating skin cancer and precancerous lesions vary, depending on the type, size, depth, and location.
Premier Surgical Associates of Knoxville and Cleveland has surgeons who treat all types of skin cancer. To request an appointment with a Premier Surgical office, call us at (865) 306-5775. Telemedicine visits are also available on request.