Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, which affects more than one million Americans each year. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. If detected early, skin cancers are generally curable.
CAUSES OF SKIN CANCER
Most skin cancers are caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure which damages & changes the DNA in our normal skin cells. Sources of UV radiation are sunlight and tanning beds. Long-term sun exposure over your lifetime, occasional extended (that leads to tanning), and intense exposure (that leads to sunburn) combine to cause damage. In the U.S., more than 419,000 cases of skin cancer each year are related to tanning bed use.
SKIN CANCER RISK FACTORS
The main risk factor for skin cancer is ultraviolet (UV) light exposure from sunlight or tanning beds. Other risk factors include family history of skin cancer, fair skin, freckling, light hair and eyes. All skin types are at risk of skin cancer. People who have had skin cancer before are at a higher risk of developing additional skin cancers. Therefore, it’s essential to perform regular self-exams and get frequent dermatology checkups.
SKIN CANCER TYPES
MOHS SKIN CANCER SURGERY
Mohs Micrographic Surgery (Mohs) is the single most effective non-melanoma skin cancer removal technique. Dr. Jeffrey Ross Gunter, MD, FAAD is a surgeon specially trained in Mohs surgery, pathology and reconstructive surgery. Dr. Gunter will precisely identify and remove the entire tumor layer by layer while leaving the surrounding healthy tissue intact and unharmed. During the surgery, the cancerous tissue is checked under the microscope to trace the edges of the cancer and confirm complete removal of all tumors down to the roots. By mapping the diseased tissue layer by layer, Mohs has lowest recurrence rates, highest cure rates and best cosmetic results of any skin cancer treatment. Mohs surgery is performed by Dr. Gunter at several office locations.
SKIN CANCER PREVENTION
About 90% of non-melanoma cancers are caused by UV radiation from the sun.
- Know Your Skin
- Identify abnormal moles & have them checked by a health care professional.
- Learn the pattern of your own moles, blemishes, freckles, & other marks so that you’ll notice changes
- Examine all areas including your palms, soles, scalp, ears, nails & back
- Routine skin exams by a healthcare professional
- Adults over 40 years old should be checked yearly. May be more often if you had skin cancer previously.
SLIP, SLAP, SLOP, SEEK, SLIDE are 5 key methods to protect yourself from the sun’s damaging UV rays.
- SLIP on a Shirt: dark color, long-sleeves, tightly woven fabric, dry fabric and SPF infused clothes are the most protective.
- SLOP on Sunscreen: broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 30-50. Apply 20-30 minutes before going outside. Reapply at least every 2 hours.
- SLAP on a Hat: with at least a 2-3 inch brim all around is ideal to protect your neck, ears, eyes, forehead, neck and scalp.
- SEEK Shade: and stay out of the sun during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
- SLIDE on Sunglasses: to protect your eyes. Polarized sunglasses that block harmful UVA & UVB rays are best.
Would you like to learn more about Skin Cancer? Call (661) 949-0004 to schedule a consultation at AV Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center.