During a recent social luncheon, one guest mentioned that a friend had just been diagnosed with skin cancer. “Thankfully, it was just skin cancer,” said the woman, “It’s not like it’s one of the big ones, you know, like real cancer.”
The truth is, cancer left undiagnosed and untreated for an extended period of time, depending on the type, can be either highly disfiguring or worse, deadly. A young woman recently shared with the world, via social media, her experience with skin cancer treatment, while regretting the years spent tanning in a tanning bed. The graphic image has gone viral.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. In fact, one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer during their lifetime. While the incidence of other types of cancer is decreasing, skin cancer continues to rise. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers combined.
Not all skin cancers are the same.
The most common type of skin cancer is basal cell carcinoma with an estimated 2.8 million diagnoses in the United States annually. These can appear as a skin discoloration, shiny bump, or pink scaly skin. Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common, with an estimated 700,000 cases each year in the U.S. These usually look like a scaly red bump or patch, or a sore that will not heal. Although rarely fatal, these can go deep into the skin, invade nerves, bones and lymph nodes causing significant damage and disfigurement.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of cancer of the skin and studies show it kills one affected person every hour. Do you know the ABCDE warning signs of melanoma?
Check your skin once a month for any new or changing moles. Melanoma occurs most commonly on the back so …whose got your back? Bring any suspicious lesions to the attention of your health care provider and get a full skin exam every year by a board-certified dermatologist. This will ensure early detection of a potentially disfiguring and/ or deadly condition, which will improve prognosis and possibly save your life.
How can you reduce your risk of developing skin cancer?
Ultraviolet radiation is a proven human carcinogen and is the leading factor in most cases of skin cancer. In fact, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if they have had more than five sunburns during their lifetime. Easy steps everyone can take to reduce their risk of developing skin cancer include protecting your skin with the daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, wearing sun protective clothing such as long sleeves, wide-brimmed hats and UV blocking sunglasses, seeking shade when outdoors for extended periods of time and, of course, avoiding the use of tanning beds.
Make Time THIS Month
Make time this month to receive YOUR annual exam with your dermatologist. At Vitalogy Skincare in the Southwest Medical Village, we often have same day availability, so make your skin health a priority and stop by today. We will get your back! For life, and the LIFE of Your Skin. http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts