Posts for tag: Skin Cancer
During the much longed-for summer months, people work on their tans. While enjoying a richer skin tone now, tanners take huge risks for premature aging and skin cancer.
Sun and artificial tanning
It's what we use to get those tans. But, did you know that when you tan, you actually burn the top layer (epidermis) of your skin and damage your DNA, too?
According to Live Science, DNA damage mutates normal skin cells into cancer cells. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the most common kinds of skin cancer. Malignant melanoma is the most deadly skin cancer as it easily metastasizes to major body organs. About one-third of melanoma cases in the US kill their sufferers annually, says The Skin Cancer Foundation.
Unfortunately, artificial tanning is just as dangerous as sitting in the sun. Intermittent sun exposure or occasional tanning in the sun or tanning beds are harmful, too. Damage to the skin is cumulative, and both kinds of ultraviolet radiation (there are UV-A and UV-B rays) breakdown your skin's DNA over time. Further, UV-B harms your skin's natural elasticity normally provided by a protein called collagen.
Don't tan: protect
To protect your skin, avoid sunburns, intentional tanning and excessive day to day sun exposure with these strategies from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD):
- Cover up any exposed skin (face, arms, legs, ears) with a broad-brimmed hat, long-sleeves and other sun-protective clothing.
- Use sunscreen lotion--SPF 30 or higher--on all exposed skin, and re-apply every two hours or whenever you sweat it off or swim.
- Stay indoors or in the shade from 10 am to 2 pm.
Also, all adults, particularly those 40 or older, should see a dermatologist for an annual skin exam. Do a careful self-exam once a month at home, looking for changes in the color, size, and shape of existing spots or moles. Report changes to your skin doctor as well as any sore which does not heal in a week or so.
It's your skin
Don't sacrifice its health for a little fashionable color. Tanning really is bad for you. Find healthy ways to enjoy the summer months and that wonderful sun. Your skin and your overall health will be better for your efforts.
With the warmer months just around the corner you may be getting ready to plan some fun in the sun. The summertime always finds children spending hours outside playing, as well as beach-filled family vacations, backyard barbeques, and more days just spent soaking up some much-needed vitamin D.
While it can certainly be great for our emotional and mental well-being to go outside, it’s also important that we are protecting our skin against the harmful effects of the sun’s rays. These are some habits to follow all year long to protect against skin cancer,
Wear Sunscreen Daily
Just because the sun isn’t shining doesn’t mean that your skin isn’t being exposed to the harmful UVA and UVB rays. The sun’s rays have the ability to penetrate through clouds. So it’s important that you generously apply sunscreen to the body and face about 30 minutes before going outside.
Opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 that also protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Everyone should use sunscreen, even infants. Just one sunburn during your lifetime can greatly increase your risk for developing skin cancer, so always remember to lather up!
Reapply Sunscreen Often
If you are planning to be outdoors for a few hours you’ll want to bring your sunscreen with you. After all, one application won’t be enough to protect you all day long. A good rule of the thumb to follow is, reapply sunscreen every two hours. Of course, you’ll also want to apply sunscreen even sooner if you’ve just spent time swimming or if you’ve been sweating a lot (e.g. running a race or playing outdoor sports).
Seek Shade During the Day
While feeling the warm rays of the sun on your shoulders can certainly feel nice, the sun’s rays are at their most powerful and most dangerous during the hours of 10am-4pm. If you plan to be outdoors during these times it’s best to seek shady spots. This means enjoying lunch outside while under a wide awning or sitting on the beach under an umbrella. Even these simple measures can reduce your risk for skin cancer.
See a Dermatologist
Regardless of whether you are fair skinned, have a family history of skin cancer or you don’t have any risk factors, it’s important that everyone visit their dermatologist at least once a year for a comprehensive skin cancer screening. This physical examination will allow our skin doctor to be able to examine every growth and mole from head to toe to look for any early signs of cancer. These screenings can help us catch skin cancer early on when it’s treatable.
Noticing changes in one of your moles? Need to schedule your next annual skin cancer screening? If so, a dermatologist will be able to provide you with the proper care you need to prevent, diagnose and treat both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.
Too much exposure to sunlight can be harmful to your skin. Dangerous ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays damage skin, which leads to premature wrinkles, skin cancer and other skin problems. People with excessive exposure to UV radiation are at greater risk for skin cancer than those who take careful precautions to protect their skin from the sun.
Sun Exposure Linked to Cancer
Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers, including melanoma. To limit your exposure to UV rays, follow these easy steps.
- Avoid the mid-day sun, as the sun's rays are most intense during 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Remember that clouds do not block UV rays.
- Use extra caution near water, snow and sand.
- Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps which emit UVA and UVB rays.
- Wear hats and protective clothing when possible to minimize your body's exposure to the sun.
- Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 to your exposed skin. Re-apply every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and area around your eyes.
Everyone's skin can be affected by UV rays. People with fair skin run a higher risk of sunburns. Aside from skin tone, factors that may increase your risk for sun damage and skin cancer include:
- Previously treated for cancer
- Family history of skin cancer
- Several moles
- Typically burn before tanning
- Blond, red or light brown hair
If you detect unusual moles, spots or changes in your skin, or if your skin easily bleeds, make an appointment with our practice. Changes in your skin may be a sign of skin cancer. With early detection from your dermatologist, skin cancers have a high cure rate and response to treatment. Additionally, if you want to reduce signs of aged skin, seek the advice of your dermatologist for a variety of skin-rejuvenating treatment options.
Properly caring for your skin can help you ensure that your complexion remains youthful and free from unwanted lines and wrinkles. Aside from aesthetic value, proper skin care habits, such as wearing sunscreen daily, also helps prevent skin cancer. Learn more about skin cancer prevention and spotting its presence early with your dermatologist, Dr. Jan DeBlieck, at DeBlieck Dermatology in Boise, ID.
What can I do to prevent skin cancer?
Keeping the sun’s harmful UV rays off your skin is the key to preventing skin cancer. Since this is not always an easy task, there are some measures your dermatologist may recommend you take to ensure that you protect your skin — even while soaking up the sun:
- Always apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to exposed skin
- Reapply your sunscreen every two hours and/or after swimming
- Wear tightly-knit clothing over exposed areas of the skin
- Seek shade during the hottest parts of the day
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat
- Perform regular skin examinations
Spotting Skin Cancer Early
Keep the American Cancer Society’s ABCDE's of spotting skin cancer in mind when performing skin examinations:
A normal mole should be symmetrical in shape with smooth borders and one solid color. Moles should be no bigger than about 6 millimeters, or about the size of a pencil eraser. Additionally, moles should not evolve quickly. If a mole were to change shape or color, it should do so over a long period of time.
Skin Cancer Prevention in Boise, ID
Taking measures to prevent skin cancer can greatly reduce your risk of developing this disease. The American Cancer Association recommends wearing an SPF of at least 30 — which protects against about 97% of the sun’s rays — on exposed areas of the skin. Using a higher sun protection factor, such as SPF 100, filters out about 99% of the sun’s rays.
For more information on skin cancer, preventing it from occurring, and its early detection, please contact Dr. Jan DeBlieck at DeBlieck Dermatology in Boise, ID. Call (208) 939-5030 to schedule your appointment with your dermatologist today!
Over five million cases of skin cancer are treated each year according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, making it the most common form of this disease. However, it is also very treatable when identified, diagnosed, and addressed early. Know the potential signs of skin cancer to increase the chance of early detection by dermatologist Dr. Jennifer DeBlieck at DeBlieck Dermatology in Boise, ID.
Monitoring Mole Changes
Moles are very common—the vast majority of Americans have them. But when a mole that has been the same for years starts to change in appearance, size, or sensation that is a point of concern. There is a reliable way to check for mole changes that may indicate a sign of an abnormality. Check for:
- Asymmetry (the mole isn’t symmetrical on both sides).
- Border (irregular edges).
- Color (different colors on the mole).
- Diameter (an enlarged mole).
- Evolving appearance of the mole.
Other signs to look out for include sores that don’t heal, ooze, and are very painful. Also, when strange growths, bumps, or spots suddenly appear on the skin, that is something you should discuss with your Boise, ID dermatologist.
Risk Factors to Consider
It’s also a good idea to keep some important risk factors in mind when considering the health of your skin and possible signs of skin cancer. For instance, patients who have lighter skin are at a higher risk due to lack of protective melanin. Patients who spend a lot of time in the sun, whether for work or pleasure, or who use tanning beds should also get examined regularly.
Skin Cancer Treatments
In the very early stages, a cancerous skin growth can be removed using a relatively simple in-office surgical procedure. After removing all traces of abnormal cells, the sore must then be monitored closely to ensure proper healing. More advanced cases may require surgery under anesthesia or a referral to a specialist for radiation and immunotherapy.
Early Treatment Is Best
Patients who have a family or personal history of skin cancer should go to regular skin exams and seek treatments at the first signs of a potential issue. Call (208) 939-5030 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Jennifer DeBlieck at DeBlieck Dermatology in Boise, ID.