Skin cancer is a condition in which abnormal skin cells begin to grow at uncontrolled, accelerated rates. The vast majority of skin cancer cases are caused by UV radiation from the sun, which can damage skin cells and trigger mutations. Mutated skin cells may form tumors that become a threat to health and life. There are three primary forms of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and melanoma. Skin cancer can also develop from a precancerous condition called actinic keratosis.
Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancers and affects one in five Americans over the course of a lifetime. Even though skin cancer rates are quite high, there are many effective treatments that can fully eliminate it. The best method of dealing with skin cancer is prevention.
To protect yourself against skin cancer, you should minimize your exposure to the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. Daily use of sunscreen, sunglasses, hats, and clothing that protects your skin can greatly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. When spending extended periods of time outside, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher and reapply it every two hours. If you are sweating or participating in water activities you will need to reapply more often. You can further reduce your risk of skin cancer by avoiding sun exposure during peak sunlight hours when the sun is high overhead.
While a sun-kissed, tanned appearance may seem attractive and desirable, take care to avoid tanning and tanning booths, as both have been proven to increase your risk of skin cancer. Finally, examine your body from top to bottom at least once a month, and contact your dermatologist if you notice any unusual skin lesions, moles, growths, or spots. Get an annual skin exam from your dermatologist or physician to verify that your skin is cancer-free.
Regular personal and dermatological skin examinations can lead to identifying precancerous skin lesions before they become a serious threat. Suspicious skin lesions, as well as precancerous and cancerous lesions, can be eliminated with skin cancer treatment. Depending upon the type of cancer and the histopathology (how the cancer appears microscopically), skin cancer may be treated in one or more of the following ways.
Actinic keratosis (AK) is a precancerous skin condition characterized by persistent, small (between two and six mm in diameter) rough spots or plaques of a red, pink, or brown color. These lesions are typically scaly or dry and may be surrounded by brown spots and broken blood vessels. AK patches may occasionally bleed in patients older than 40 years. Actinic keratosis is caused by UVB damage, and 10 percent of AK lesions will develop into skin cancer within just two years.
BCC is the most common type of skin cancer. It develops within the basal cell layer, which is the deepest layer of skin. BCC appears as an open sore, a red patch of skin, or a shiny or pink growth, and it usually grows slowly.
Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the second most common type of skin cancer. UV radiation significantly promotes the development of SCC. Even though it is slow-growing, SCC can spread to nearby tissues and bones and may become difficult to treat.
Melanoma is a serious type of skin cancer. It develops in skin cells that produce melanin, typically in areas that receive a lot of sun exposure. Even though melanoma accounts for very few skin cancer cases, it accounts for the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.
When caring for your skin, it is imperative that you protect your skin against UV radiation to guard against skin cancer. If you need your skin examined, you have a suspicious skin lesion, or you need skin cancer removal, we can help. Colorado Skin and Vein can give you effective treatment for skin cancer with the best aesthetic results after your treatment. Act now by contacting us today to get the quick treatment you need to ensure your health and safety. Request your personal consultation with us by calling 303.683.3235 or completing our online contact form today.
Dr. Verebelyi is a nationally recognized authority on laser surgery. He is board certified by both the American Board of Family Practice and The American Board of Venous & Lymphatic Medicine. Dr. Verebelyi helped create the Fundamentals of Laser Surgery course given by American Society of Laser Medicine & Surgery (ASLMS) where he has worked as both a director and instructor. He is a Fellow at the ASLMS, member of the American College of Phlebology and a member of Mensa.
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