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SKIN CANCER PROTECTION and PREVENTION

Summer is on its way and people will get more exposure to the suns rays than any other time of year. We’ve all heard the word of caution about too much sun causing skin cancer, but specifically it’s the Ultraviolet (UV) light exposure that is overwhelmingly the most frequent cause of skin cancer.

Since May is Skin Cancer Detection & Prevention Month, and skin cancer affects more than 1 million people in the United States each year, I thought I’d dedicate some time to the topic.

Skin Cancer Causes

Other than frequent, unprotected sun exposure, some significant causes of skin cancer include:
– The frequent use of tanning booths, which, like the sun, expose the skin to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
– Immune system compromise, which impairs the body’s ability to fight disease. A suppressed immune system affects the ability of the body to regenerate and repair at the cellular level.

– Ways to improve the immune system are to stress less and laugh more, drink more water and less alcohol, eat antioxidant rich foods rather than empty calories and sugar, as well as take a probiotic to promote beneficial gut flora.
– Regular exposure to electromagnetic wave of high energy and very short wavelength, such as Xrays.

– And exposure to certain chemicals, such as arsenic and those in tar, oils and soot.

 

People with Greater Risk
Besides outside environmental factors, certain people are predisposed to skin cancer. These are characteristics of people who are at greater risk:
Fair skin that burns easily from the sun exposure and freckles easily
Blond or redheads with blue or green eyes
Depleted skin pigmentation, such as from certain genetic disorders like albinism and xeroderma pigmentosum.
Previous cancer or close family members who have had skin cancer
Birthmark or a large mole, or numerous moles and unusual moles that developed later in life
Experienced a severe sunburn in childhood

“ABCD’s” of Cancer Detection
– Asymmetry: one side not looking like the other
– Border irregularity: rough, jagged or bumpy edges
– Color: mixture of black, tan, brown, blue, red, or white
– Diameter: larger than the size of a pencil eraser (about 6 mm across) or noticeable increase in size

 

Kinds of Skin Cancer
The skin is the largest organ in the body and skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. There are three major kinds of skin cancer:
– Melanoma,
– Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
– Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Melanoma is actually the most frequent cancer in people age 25 to 29 years. About a third of all melanoma are diagnosed before the age of 50, although most skin cancers are diagnosed between 50 and 75 years old. Squamous cell carcinomas and basal cell carcinomas, which are the vast majority of skin cancers, are more common in older people. Unlike the Melanomas, the BCCs or SCC usually do not spread to other parts of the body.

Prevention
It is important to self check using the “ABCD’s” and to regularly be checked by a dermatologist. A doctor can send away a biopsy of a questionable mole or marking to tell if it’s cancerous. Fortunately, you can reduce your risk of getting skin cancer. This is one of the main reasons why I recommend safeguarding yourself when you enjoy the beautiful weather with sunscreen, protective clothing, sunglasses and a hat.

Prevention and early detection are key with skin cancer. Enjoy the beautiful summer weather, but please do so safely. If you have any more questions, please consult your dermatologist.

Steven Davison M.D.
Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month…Helpful Info from Dr. Steven Davison

May is National Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection/Prevention Month…Early Detection Increases Chances for Survival

One in every five Americans will develop skin cancer during their lifetime and every hour…one person in America dies from skin cancer.  Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer and it is preventable/treatable.

May has been designated as National Skin Cancer Awareness month by several organizations such as the National Cancer Institute, Skin Cancer Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and the American Academy of Dermatology.  I won’t belabor the facts…just want to remind you of them and offer some helpful and important tips for skin cancer prevention.

Review of Skin Cancer Facts

-During the month of May we try to raise the public awareness of the importance of prevention, early detection and immediate treatment of skin cancer.

They are:  1) basal cell, 2) squamous cell 3) melanoma.

-More than 3.5 million skin cancers are diagnosed annually in more than 2 million people.

-Melanoma (unlike other cancers) has a wide age distribution…it occurs in young people & seniors.

-Rates of occurrence increase with age- they are highest among 80 years olds.

-One bad burn during childhood doubles the risk for getting melanoma skin cancer later in life.

-Skin cancer is the most deadly for African Americans, Asians & Latinos.

RISK FACTORS

Everyone is at risk…but some people with certain factors are more likely than others to develop skin cancer.  The risks include:

Lighter natural color skin

Family history of skin cancer

Personal history of skin cancer

Exposure to the sun through work & play

History of sunburns early in life

Skin that burns easily freckles, reddens easily or becomes painful in the sun

Blue or Green eyes

IMPORTANT TIPS FOR PROTECTION/PREVENTION

1.  AVOID the sun between 10am and 2pm…this is the when the rays are at their peak

2.  Damage occurs all day long…so be wise and use sunscreen or sunblock

3.  Take more precautions when it is hot, humid and windy as these conditions enhance harmful effects of   UV rays

4.  Cloudy days are dangerous days…we tend to be out more, longer and use less protection.  Understand that UV Rays pierce the clouds and cause serious damage (burns)

5.  TANS are NOT healthy!  No tan, whether from sun exposure or tanning beds, is healthy.  The darkened skin is merely a protective measure (performed by your skin).  It provides only minimal levels of protection and does not cancel out the need for using other sun protective methods.

6.  Short Term Symptoms of over exposure include: blistering, peeling, tanning

7.  Long Term Symptoms= increased risk for skin cancer along with dry, wrinkled skin.

Early diagnosis & immediate treatment of melanoma cancer can mean the difference between life and death.

Please read and heed this important information.

Ask us to recommend top of the line products to protect your precious skin…and allow you to enjoy your fun in the sun.

Dr. Steven Davison

At DAVinci…I combine the supreme elements of art & surgical science.

Schedule Your Consultation With Dr. Davison

The initial consultation with your surgeon is critical! It should always be face to face with your surgeon during which time he/she listens closely to your concerns. Dr. Davison believes this time spent with you is critical to both you and to him. It is during the consultation that he comes to fully understand your concerns, evaluates them correctly and is then able to make the recommendations and develop the treatment plan thats right for you. Dr. Davison invests the time to sit down and talk to you face-to-face.

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