Posts for tag: Skin Cancer
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.
We all want to achieve a healthy tan. It makes us look and feel better, but that bronzed glow may not be as healthy as you think. A tan is your skin’s reaction to ultraviolet (UV) light. This darkening of the skin cells is the skin's natural defense against further damage from UV radiation.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), nearly 28 million people tan in the United States annually. Of these, 2.3 million are teens. Many people believe the UV rays of tanning beds are harmless, but this is far from true. Tanning beds emit UVA and usually UVB rays as well. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause long-term skin damage and premature aging (i.e. wrinkles, spots and sagging skin), and can contribute to skin cancer.
The AAD states that the risk of melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer—is 75% higher among people who used tanning beds in their teens and 20s. Despite the known risks associated with indoor tanning these numbers continue to increase, as do the incidences of cancer.
Visit your dermatologist immediately if you detect any unusual changes in your skin’s appearance, such as:
- A change or an increase in the size or thickness of a mole or spot
- Change in color or texture of the mole
- Irregularity in the border of a mole
Protecting yourself from UV exposure is the best defense against premature aging and skin cancer. In addition to avoiding indoor tanning beds, you should also always wear sunscreen outdoors to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Remember to self-examine your own skin as well as have your skin checked regularly by your dermatologist.
Whether you acquire your tan from the beach or a lamp, it’s not safe and it’s not healthy. If you’re a regular tanner, it may be time to rethink your current stance on the standards of beauty. There are safe alternatives to a bronzed glow without risking your health.
Although moles are usually harmless, in some cases they can become cancerous, causing melanoma. For this reason, it is important to regularly examine your skin for any moles that change in size, color, shape, sensation or that bleed. Suspicious or abnormal moles or lesions should always be examined by your dermatologist.
What to Look For
Remember the ABCDE's of melanoma when examining your moles. If your mole fits any of these criteria, you should visit your dermatologist as soon as possible.
- Asymmetry. One half of the mole does not match the other half.
- Border. The border or edges of the mole are poorly defined or irregular.
- Color. The color of the mole is not the same throughout or has shades of tan, brown, black, blue, white or red.
- Diameter. The diameter of a mole is larger than the eraser of a pencil.
- Evolution. The mole is changing in size, shape or color.
Moles can appear anywhere on the skin, including the scalp, between the fingers and toes, on the soles of the feet and even under the nails. The best way to detect skin cancer in its earliest, most curable stage is by checking your skin regularly and visiting our office for a full-body skin cancer screening. Use this guide to perform a self-exam.
- Use a mirror to examine your entire body, starting at your head and working your way to the toes. Also be sure to check difficult to see areas, including between your fingers and toes, the groin, the soles of your feet and the backs of your knees.
- Pay special attention to the areas exposed to the most sun.
- Don't forget to check your scalp and neck for moles. Use a handheld mirror or ask a family member to help you.
- Develop a mental note or keep a record of all the moles on your body and what they look like. If they do change in any way (color, shape, size, border, etc.), or if any new moles look suspicious, visit your dermatologist right away.
Skin cancer has a high cure rate if detected and treated early. The most common warning sign is a visible change on the skin, a new growth, or a change in an existing mole. Depending on the size and location of the mole, dermatologists may use different methods of mole removal. A body check performed by a dermatologist can help determine whether the moles appearing on the body are pre-cancerous or harmless.