Posts tagged #skincancerawareness
Non-Melanoma Skin Cancers

Most people have heard of melanoma skin cancer, but not everyone knows the two types of non-melanoma skin cancer: basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. It forms at the bottom of the top layer of skin and grows relatively slowly. Squamous cell carcinoma occurs in the very outer layer of the skin. Less common than basal cell, squamous cell is more likely to grow into the deeper layers of the skin and, though this is uncommon, can spread to other parts of the body.

Basal cell carcinoma presents as pearly “bumps” that are either smooth or rough to the touch. When new spots appear, basal cell skin cancers can itch, bleed, and seem like sores that never heal. If untreated, it can spread to the surrounding skin and permeate into the bone. Thankfully, basal cell can be easily treated by excision, Mohs surgery, a procedure called “curettage and electrodessication,” and even topical medicated creams. Some families have an inherited condition where they can form hundreds of basal cell carcinomas.

Dermatology Arts’ Dr. Master worked with internationally renowned Basal Cell Nevus Syndrome (Gorlin’s Syndrome) researcher Ervin Epstein, MD at the University of California San Francisco in the early 1990s. Their work resulted in a publication which localized a tumor suppressor gene to the long arm of the Chromosome 9.

Various types of squamous cell carcinoma exist. There are keratoacanthomas, in situ, invasive, etc. These skin cancers often appear on the face, ears, neck, and back of the hands where sun exposure is high. Pre-cancerous spots known as actinic keratosis also appear in these areas and can become squamous cell carcinoma. Typically, cryotherapy or medicated creams can improve these spots before they become cancerous. The same treatment methods used for basal cell carcinoma can also treat squamous cell carcinoma.

Non-melanoma skin cancers are generally less harmful than melanoma, but far more common, and still require treatment. One of the best ways to prevent skin cancer is sun protection. Tanned skin, blistering sunburns, and other types of prolonged sun exposure are the main culprits for non-melanoma skin cancers. Wear sun protective clothing, when outside for long periods of time, and reapply sunscreen every hour to keep your skin looking younger and avoid future doctor visits.

Do You Use Protection?

Did you know UV exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer? The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends taking many precautions when going out in the sun. It’s important to minimize sun exposure and maximize protection. Enjoy a play on words in this video by the AAD

Summary:

  • Seek shade during times of peak sun rays

  • Wear protective clothing like hats and sunglasses. Pro-tip from Dermatology Arts: Use SPF shirts and shorts for water activities (for example. rash guards / swim shirts have a UPF / SPF equivalent)

  • Apply minimum SPF 30, broad spectrum, and water resistant sunscreen

  • Reapply sunscreen every hour on the hour when outside

Get your moles checked!

May is filled with holidays, new spring weather, and more! What many may not know is May is Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Melanoma is a more serious skin cancer than non-melanoma skin cancers squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. It can spread through your body, affect how long you live, and appear on parts of the body that have little sun exposure.

Those with a personal or family history of melanoma know it is important to get their skin checked regularly. Even first degree relatives since developing melanoma has a genetic component. Full body skin checks at Dermatology Arts can help evaluate spots you can’t see (on your back or between your toes), catch early signs of skin cancers, and even prevent melanoma from spreading to other parts of the body.

Knowing if a spot is concerning can be tricky. Many people have lots of moles, and it can be difficult to determine if any of them are changing. Having someone at home check hard to see places monthly can be helpful. See our post here for a few quick facts about Melanoma and enjoy a short video about checking loved ones’ spots!