While spending time in the sunshine has many health benefits, exposure to ultraviolet rays can potentially lead to skin cancer. Prevention is your best defense against developing life-threatening skin cancers. Choosing to wear clothing, hats, fabrics, and sunglasses with a UPF label or UVA or UVB blockers is highly suggested for your daily use. Applying a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen of SPF 15 or greater to exposed skin is also recommended to not only keep the skin healthy but youthful looking too. In addition to skin cancer, lots of UV light without sun protection can also cause leathery skin, dark spots, and wrinkles. 

Indoor tanning, sunburns, unprotected exposure to UVA and UVB rays, genetics, skin type, atypical moles, organ transplant, and red hair are top factors that increase skin cancer risk. Early detection is key to the most minimal and cost-effective treatment with the highest chance of a cure. Dermatologists advise getting screened for skin cancer annually, or more often than once a year if you are at higher risk of skin cancer or have had previous skin cancers. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and worldwide but when detected early, the 5-year survival rate for melanoma is 99%. percent. 

During a skin cancer screen, the dermatologist will inspect your skin from head to toe. Skin cancer can develop on the scalp and even between the fingers and toes and underneath the nails. Your doctor will check for any moles, birthmarks, or other noticeable skin conditions that may be unusual in color, size, shape, or texture. Some possible signs indicating skin cancer can include change in an existing mole or spot, mole or other skin mark that oozes, bleeds, or becomes crusty, moles that are extra sensitive or painful when touched, open sores that do not heal within two2 weeks, shiny pink, red, white, or translucent bumps, and moles or skin marks or even sores that have irregular borders. When conducting a self-screening, follow the melanoma model of “ABCDE”: asymmetry, border, color, diameter, and evolving. 

If you notice any changes in your skin, it is best to schedule a skin screening with your dermatologist. At THE CENTER for Advanced Dermatology we offer skin cancer screenings that only take about 10-15 minutes and pose no risk. Patients should not wear makeup or nail polish and wear hair loose to be able to examine the scalp. A few minutes of your time once a year is an easy and effective way to both prevent and treat early signs of skin cancer. Call 602-867-7546 to schedule your exam. For more information, visit WEBSITE.