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Skin Cancer 101

Skin cancer can be scary, but knowing more about it can help you protect your health. Keep reading to learn more about protecting your skin and your health.

What are the most common types of skin cancer?
The three major types of skin cancer include squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma. These different types of cancers affect different layers of skin cells. Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer and the one people are most familiar with.

What causes skin cancer?
In most cases, skin cancer is caused by damage to DNA. This interferes with the process of developing new skin cells and can result in tumors and other problems. In most cases, the DNA damage is the result of UV radiation from sunlight or tanning beds. People with a family history of skin cancer, fair skin, and a weaker immune system may have a higher risk of developing skin cancer.

Preventing Skin Cancer
Skin Cancer & Skin Cancer ScreeningsUV radiation is the primary cause of DNA damage and skin cancer, so avoiding exposure to UV radiation is the most important way to protect your self from skin cancer.

  • Never use tanning beds. If you want to have tanned looking skin, consider a spray tan.
  • Do not lie out in the sun to get a tan and do not use tanning oil.
  • Always wear sunscreen when spending time outdoors.
  • Take extra precautions when you are in higher elevations where you have less protection from UV radiation.
  • Wear clothing that covers your skin and wear a hat to shade your face and neck
  • Apply moisturizer with sunscreen every morning for a base layer of protection so that you’ll be protected throughout the day.
  • Keep sunscreen in the glove box of your car so that you can easily apply it if you realize you’ll be spending time outside.
  • When possible, avoid spending time outside between 10 am and 4 pm when you’re more likely to get sunburned.

Skin Cancer Screenings
If you notice any changes in your skin it is important to see a dermatologist for a skin cancer screening. The earlier skin cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat.

Signs that you should get your skin checked include:

  • Moles that change size, color, or shape
  • Shiny, pearly, or waxy bumps on the skin
  • Skin lesions
  • A red nodule (small area of swollen cells) on the skin
  • A family history of skin cancer

If you are concerned about skin cancer or other changes in your skin, schedule an appointment at the Dermatology and Skin Surgery Center to learn more about treatment options and protecting your skin.

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