Skin Cancer - What You Should Know and How to Prevent It
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and skin cancer is a growing epidemic. According to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, there are more than 3.5 million new cases of skin cancer diagnosed and 2.2 million people treated in the U.S. each year.
Don’t be one of those cases! Educating yourself on skin cancer is so important and how to prevent it from happening to you is easy!
What is Skin Cancer?
Skin Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells in the outermost layer of the skin, called the epidermis.
Thereare two most common types of skin cancer: basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas. They are highly curable, but left untreated they can grow and invade nearby tissue and organs.
Melanoma is the third most common and much more dangerous form of skin cancer. This type of cancer causes the most deaths.
What do all 3 have in common?
Ultraviolet (UV) Light.
UV rays are the most common kind of sunlight. They penetrate beyond the epidermis and can cause the skin cells to change. They come from sun, tanning beds and sunlamps. Too much exposure to UV rays can change the skin texture, cause fine lines and wrinkles, and can lead to skin cancer.
Prevention is Key!
Follow these steps to help prevent skin cancer:
- Apply at least 2 ounces or a shot glass full of sunscreen 30 minutes prior to sun exposure
- Reapply every 2 hours or after swimming or heavy sweating
- Seek the shade and try to avoid sun exposure between 10 am to 4 pm
- Cover up with clothing, wear a broad-brimmed hat and UV blocking sunglasses
- Do not let your skin burn:
- Examine your skin every month from head-to-toe
- Check for the ABC's - Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter, Evolving
- If you notice any changes, contact your physician!
- See your physician every year for a professional skin exam
- Have a chemical peel done every 3-4 months
What do Chemical Peels have to do with Skin Cancer?
Chemical peels help treat both the outer and inner layer of the skin. The epidermis is exfoliated while the inner layer has increased collagen and elastin. Peels work on reducing fine lines and wrinkles, skin texture and reverse the effects of sun damaged skin.
After a chemical peel, your skin may be red and irritated (almost like a sunburn), within 2-3 days the damaged skin will start to peel off taking any actinic keratosis with it!