Skin cancer is an uncontrolled, malignant overgrowth of cells that make up the skin. In the United States alone, more than 2 million people are diagnosed each year with nonmelanoma skin cancer, and more than 76,000 are diagnosed with melanoma, according to the American Cancer Society.
The three most common forms of skin cancer are:
Skin cancers develop most commonly from a combination of genetic predisposition and sun exposure. It is more common in fair-skinned people, especially those with blond or red hair, who have light-colored eyes. Skin cancer is rare in children. But, no one is safe from skin cancer. Other risk factors include:
Skin cancers can appear very differently based on the type of cancer and the individual patient. Common symptoms of skin cancer include:
• New or changing moles (often in melanoma)
• New red bumps or scaly patches that do not go away on their own
• Nonhealing wounds
• Small, shiny bump or nodule on the skin, mainly in areas exposed to the sun, such as the head, neck, arms, hands and face (basal cell carcinoma)
• Nodules or red, scaly patches of skin on sun-exposed areas such as the face, ears, lips and mouth (squamous cell carcinoma)
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends the following steps to help reduce your risk of skin cancer:
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends the following steps for infants younger than 6 months:
Remember, sand and pavement reflect UV rays even under an umbrella. Snow is also a particularly good reflector of UV rays. So it is important to take preventive measures even during winter.
Among the many kinds of treatments for skin cancer are the following:
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call (310) 825-6911.