You likely already know that exposure to harmful UV rays, whether from the sun or tanning beds or any other source, can significantly increase your risk of skin cancer. The team at The Clinic for Dermatology & Wellness want to help you have a better understanding of the different types and statistics around skin cancer and, most importantly, how you can protect your skin and reduce your risk.
What to know:
● Skin cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer
Did you know that each year, nearly six million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed and treated in the U.S.? It’s pretty easy to understand why skin cancer occurs more often than all other cancers combined, when you consider how challenging it can be to avoid sun exposure. It wasn’t always common knowledge that you can get skin-damaging UV exposure through clouds, during winter, through car windshields and through glass windows and doors. This is why, today, any skin expert will tell you to use SPF 30 or higher sunscreen all day, every day.
● There are several different types of skin cancer
Not all skin cancers are created equal. You may be familiar already with the term “melanoma” but melanoma, in fact, is significantly less common than basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC).
Basal cell carcinoma is the single most common cancer in the United States, with 3.5 million cases each year. Most patients visit a dermatologist after discovering a new skin-colored or shiny bump, or a pimple that won’t go away. Patients often describe “easy bleeding” or say “it never heals.”
Squamous cell carcinoma is often characterized by a rough, red, scaly patch of skin that never heals, and patients may say the lesion is tender to the touch.
● BCC and SCC are rarely deadly
Non-melanoma skin cancers, such as BCC and SCC, are often treated with a simple excision by your dermatologist.
For cancers with greater risk, or in a cosmetically or functionally sensitive area (such as near an eye or over the nose), Mohs micrographic surgery, available here at The Clinic in Medford, is the treatment recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology.
● Melanoma is still a risk
Although it is far less common than basal and squamous cell carcinomas, melanoma can be more deadly. In the past 20 years, cases of melanoma have risen sharply, particularly in women younger than 40. The average five-year survival rate for melanoma post-detection is 93% across all stages. This means melanoma is important to catch early, as the survival rate with early detection is approximately 99%. When it goes undetected and spreads from the skin, the results can be devastating.
How to protect yourself and reduce your risk:
● Avid sun protection (SPF 30+ sunscreen, staying in the shade, covering up with clothing, hats & sunglasses)
● Regular self-examinations
● Annual examination by your dermatology provider
● Stay informed
Our providers perform thorough, total-body skin exams. We also supply our patients with a wealth of information on how best to protect themselves and lower their risk for melanoma and other skin cancers. Ultimately, we want you to be aware that skin cancer is directly and proportionally connected to cumulative sun exposure over the course of your life.
The primary goal of our dermatological staff is the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer. We recommend you schedule regular full-body skin exams and skin cancer screenings to ensure your skin remains healthy and cancer-free!
As part of our goal to provide the highest quality service to every patient, we are honored to welcome our new bilingual physician assistant: David Richardson, PA-C! David is fluent in English and Spanish, so he is ready to help you receive the best care while having the best possible experience.
Learn more and get started toward healthier, happier skin by calling us today at 541-200-2777 or requesting an appointment online. PLUS, be on the lookout for more details soon about our upcoming expansion into a second location, The Annex!