Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States affecting one in five people by the age of 70. It occurs when there is a change in the DNA of cells causing an abnormal growth. These changes allow the cells to continue to replicate, without the usual mechanisms that prevent growth, causing mutation to occur in the cells.
Most skin cancers are either Basal Cell Carcinoma or Squamous Cell Carcinoma, however Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
How Do I Know If I Have Skin Cancer?
It is important to check your body regularly for lesions that could represent skin cancer. Concerning spots on the skin can be remembered by the ABCDs.
- Asymmetric (the mole isn’t the same on both sides)
- Borders (the edge is uneven)
- Color (multiple colors in the lesion is concerning)
- Diameter (lesions greater than 6 mm or the size of an eraser head)
- Evolving size, shape, or diameter
Can Skin Cancer Be Prevented?
The best way of preventing skin cancer is to wear protective clothing that blocks out those harmful UV rays and use at least SPF 30 year round (which blocks 97 percent of the sun’s UV B rays). People who are fair skinned or have freckles are at the highest risk from sun exposure. Tanning booths also significantly increase the risk of skin cancer.
It is recommended to have your skin checked annually. If you have lesions that are meeting the criteria listed above, have a new skin growth, or that you would like to have removed, please call our office today at 360.613.1335 to schedule your appointment.