Every year, over five million cases of skin cancer are treated in the United States alone.
Skin cancer is more common than breast, lung, and colon cancer combined. One in five Americans will develop it at some point.
Melanoma is a more sinister form of skin cancer. It accounts for the vast majority of deaths from skin cancer. The good news is that regular use of sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher can reduce the risk of developing melanoma by almost half. Sunscreen is key in preventing skin cancer and early detection is the key to minimizing the danger of skin cancer. This is why Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month is so important.
Melanoma is a particular variety of skin cancer which is typically more serious than other types. Factors that set it apart include its potential to spread and its tendency to run in families. Unlike most forms of skin cancer, melanoma can occur even without overt sun exposure though.
For other types of skin cancer the sun is definitely the major risk factor. According to the CDC, UV rays can start damaging your skin in as little as fifteen minutes, even on a cloudy day. Clothing is not enough protection. A typical tee shirt has an SPF of about 10. Additionally, getting a tan from a tanning bed is damaging to your skin and can be a factor in developing skin cancer.
People with a family history of skin cancer, or even a history of sunburns early in life, can be at greater risk. Knowing these risks is the first step in avoiding and/or minimizing them.
What you know may end up saving you! The most important thing to remember when it comes to skin cancer is that we all have a risk factor in common: the sun. Although genetic risk factors can play a part, exposure to the sun is the biggest contributor to the development of skin cancer.
Sun exposure is a perennial issue. However it is particularly dangerous in the spring and summer when more people are outside for longer periods of time with a lot less clothing on to aid in protection. It cannot be emphasized enough that to minimize the risk of sun exposure at any point in time some form of high-quality sunscreen to block both UVA and UVB rays should be worn on a daily basis. How simple is that! Another benefit to minimizing exposure to the sun and wearing sunscreen on a daily basis is your skin will stay younger looking, longer. How wonderful is that!
To help prevent damage to your skin and possible skin cancer doctors recommend the following:
Virginia ENT is able to diagnose and treat skin cancers and address potential lymph node spread for cancers that carry a risk of metastasis.
If you have questions about melanoma or skin cancer, make an appointment with Virginia ENT to consult with a physician.