Who Can Develop Skin Cancer?
Anyone can develop skin cancer, including people of color and people without a family history of cancer. This is why it is so important that everyone take care of their skin by wearing sun protection. In fact, it is part of Vibrant Dermatology’s mission to ensure that everyone can enjoy healthy and beautiful skin through the use of sun protection and by working with a highly-qualified dermatologist to frequently check the skin for signs of cancer.
Patients who have are repeatedly exposed to UV lights, are immunocompromised, have numerous skin growths, and a family history of malignant melanoma are all at higher risk of skin cancer. Additionally, individuals who have experienced severe sunburns that peel are immediately more prone to skin cancers.
Common Types of Skin Cancer
There are many types of skin cancer, but the fact remains that skin cancer is one of the most easily treatable forms of cancer with high success rates if it is caught early. Common types of skin cancer include:
Basal cell carcinoma is a type of skin cancer that develops within the basal cells of the skin. This type of cancer may grow slowly and tend to appear after years of sun exposure. Most commonly, basal cell carcinoma will appear as a light-colored, waxy lump or as a brown and scaly patch on the face and neck.
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer, and it originates within the squamous cells of the skin. This type of cancer is typically caused by sun exposure from tanning beds or the sun’s UV rays. Squamous cell carcinoma may look like a dark, scaly patch. It may also bleed or have an open sore as well as a crusty surface.
Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, and it develops within melanocytes – the pigment-producing cells of the skin. Melanoma can develop off of, or near, an existing mole anywhere on the body.
Causes of Skin Cancer
While exposure to the sun and the use of tanning beds is a common cause of skin cancer, there are other factors at play as well.
Genetics play a major role in how likely a person is to develop skin cancer. Those with family histories of skin cancer should schedule regular, full-body skin exams even if they do not have many dark spots or have not seen anything develop on their skin. Additionally, individuals with over 50 moles, or people who have congenital nevi, should also schedule skin exams for the same reason.
Treatment Options for Skin Cancer
Overwhelmingly, prevention and early detection are the best treatment for skin cancer.
Dr. Ip encourages all patients to perform self-exams frequently in between annual full-body skin exams by a dermatologist. If you ever notice anything suspicious, schedule an appointment for a professional examination to determine the cause of the new change in your skin.
When caught early, treating skin cancer is as easy as removing the cancerous growth. During this outpatient procedure, you will be numbed and the cancerous area will be excised. This includes removing a healthy margin of skin to try and better remove all possible affected cells.
If skin cancer isn’t caught until an advanced stage, more serious treatment may be needed. First, you will undergo testing to find out whether or not the cancer has spread to other areas of your body – including your internal organs and bones. Treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation may also be necessary.
Leave your skincare to the experts. Skin cancer is a very serious and sometimes life-threatening condition. When it is caught early, treatment is highly successful – so make sure you are regularly checking your skin and schedule appointments with a dermatologist to check in on the health of your skin. If you would like to experience premier dermatological care to achieve beautiful and healthy skin, please schedule your appointment with Dr. Ip today.