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Skin Cancer Detection & 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:
1.  The frequent use of tanning booths, which, like the sun, expose the skin to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.
2.  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.
3.  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 the characteristics of the 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 of 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
1.  Asymmetry: one side not looking like the other
2.  Border irregularity: rough, jagged or bumpy edges
3.  Color: mixture of black, tan, brown, blue, red, or white
4.  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….today is Melanoma Black Monday!

Hard to believe we’re into May already!  So, I must do my annual warning against skin cancer:  May has been designated by many organizations as National Skin Cancer Awareness Month…and that involves letting you know about skin cancers and ways you

Sun protection and sun screen at the beach

Sun Protection

can avoid them.  We do this year after year because:  Melanoma and Non Melanoma  is the most common form of skin cancer in the United States.  For my faithful blog followers, please review this and pass it along to someone who needs this information.

SKIN CANCER FACTS AS THEY ARE:

1)  More than 90% of skin cancer is caused by sun exposure.  2)  Every hour 1 person dies from skin cancer   3)  Skin cancer accounts for more than 50% of all cancers combined   4) Per the American Cancer Association: more than 1 million cases will be diagnosed this year   5)  Skin cancer is most deadly among African Americans, Asians and Latinos   6)  One bad burn during childhood doubles the risk factor   7)  Men are diagnosed with skin cancer more often than women.

2 CATEGORIES:   Highly curable  (basal cell and squamous cell cancers) ……Deadly  (melanomas)

AVOID TANNING BEDS…the new trend among women between 18 to 29 years of age…involves an 8 times greater risk of developing skin cancer. and increased use of tanning beds increased the risk of getting skin cancers.

Skin cancer history is also linked to new skin cancers developing in other areas of the body according to a large study done by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston  (over 46,000 men and 100K+ women involved in the study) which ran from June 1984 to June 2008.  Nearly 70,000 new cases of skin cancers were diagnosed in these patients with a history of previous skin cancers with the women  being at higher risk than the men.  Bottom line is….both men and women get skin cancers…mostly from excess sun exposure and early diagnosis and treatment is critical to good outcomes.  SEE MY BLOGS FROM MAY 2012, 2011 for more info on skin cancer, risk factors, staying safe and more….

FIVE MORE SUN PROTECTIVE TIPS….  6)  Don’t use sunscreen that has “baked” in your hot car….it’s useless.   7) If you take medications or use OTC pain killers….talk with your Dr. since many of these cause “photosensitivity.”  8) UVA rays penetrate glass…so be aware when sitting by windows during the heat of summer   9)  Don’t count on makeup for protection….you must know what level of protection it offers…and if you need to also use sunscreen    10)  Beach umbrellas block sun from above…but not the glare from below or from the water….choose carefully when setting up for the day.

MOTHER’S DAY….give your Mom or Sweetheart a SPA DAY  or a GIFT COUPON for BOTOX, RADIESSE…JUVEDERM,  LIP AUGMENTATION….  or a procedure she’s been talking about!   Women love these kinds of gifts!   Give a “New Mommy” a SPA DAY….and info about Mommy Makeovers.

Have a great May!

Steven Davison M.D.

“DAVinci….where I combine the supreme elements of art and 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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