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Checking Your Skin Health- Skin Cancer

Welcome to part 4 of our 5 part series on checking and addressing your skin health. If you missed part 1, click here, part 2, click here, part 3, click here.

All of us at some point in our lives have probably increased our risk of exposure to UV radiation and skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. According to NCI (the National Cancer Institute), with over one million people diagnosed every year.

UV radiation (UVA and UVB) from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. Tanning booths provide an artifical form of UV radiation and can also cause skin cancer. There are people who are in a higher risk category;  including those with fair skin, northern European ancestry or those with a family history of skin cancer.

It is simple and essential to protect your skin from UVA and UVB radiation with a high quality sunscreen.  This is not only important in the summer when the air is warmer- the sun’s rays are present year round. We offer 2 excellent Sun Protection Systems from DermaSpaRx, Normal skin & Oily skin.  

Check your skin:

Actinic keratoses are precancerous lesions that can progress and develop into skin cancer. They appear as dry, scaly scabs or red patches that do not heal. They are easily treated by light freezing with liquid nitrogen.

What will it look like if it is Cancer?

There are 3 main types of skin cancer:

Basal Cell Carcinoma– usually appears as a slowly growing, non-healing sore that often has a pearly raised border.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma– as with Basal Cell, this type usually appears as a slowly growing, non-healing sore but has a harder thickened scale.

Malignant Melanoma– Often appears as a pigmented lesion with irregular borders and irregular pigmentation.

All of these types need prompt attention by a physician.

Prevention: Be cautious of the conditions your skin is exposed to. If you are going to be out in the sun, you should protect your exposed skin with sunscreen. Apply at least 20 minutes before going into the sun so it has time to absorb into your skin.

Protect your eye area from squinting and the sun’s rays with sunglasses and a UV proof hat.

Your skin has a memory. It keeps track of all of the sun damage that’s accumulated over the years. Remember, your skin health is a marathon, not a sprint. Finding and sticking to a preventative and corrective regimen is the key to long lasting skin health.

Dr. Richard Asarch, M.D.

 

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