Skin cancer grows slowly and can spread throughout the body, but it can be treated effectively when caught early. The more you know about skin cancer, the better armed you are to take care of yourself and your skin.
Here are five facts about skin cancer that you might not know.
1) Skin Cancer Is More Common on the Head, Face, Arms, and Legs
Skin cancer can occur anywhere on the body, but it is more common in areas that are exposed to the most sunlight — this is why it frequently appears on the head, face, hands, arms and legs. However, even areas that do not receive sunlight are susceptible, so it is important to keep an eye out for any moles or spots that seem suspicious.
2) Symptoms Can Be Difficult to Identify
If you spot any unusual skin changes, it is a good idea to get them checked out by a dermatologist, as skin cancer can take on many different forms. Red or black spots, swollen areas, open sores or peeling skin, are all possible indications of skin cancer. Patients often delay visiting a doctor because the cancer doesn’t look the way they believe it should. As a rule, if you are concerned about any mark on your skin, it’s best to see a dermatologist right away.
3) Moles Are the Most Dangerous
If you have a mole or mole-like growth on your skin with irregular borders, you have a higher chance of developing melanoma. These growths are called “nevi” and they are responsible for up to 20 percent of all melanomas. If you have numerous nevi on your body, you need to pay special attention to them.
4) Sunscreen Isn’t Always Enough
It is always a good idea to use sunscreen when you are out in the sun. However, sometimes sunscreen by itself just isn’t enough to keep skin cancer from developing. During the brightest hours of the day, it is a good idea to seek shade. Wear wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses, and be particularly cautious around water or snow, as these can reflect sun rays and increase your chances of getting sunburned.
5) The Sun Is Not the Only Cause of Skin Cancer
Although exposure to sunlight is a major cause of skin cancer, there are many things that can increase your risk. Smoking and a bad diet are two other common contributing factors, as are chronic infections and exposure to arsenic. Don’t assume that you are not at risk just because you don’t spent a lot of time outdoors.
The earlier skin cancer is diagnosed, the better your chances or making a full recovery. It is important to get checked out periodically, and if you have any strange or unusual marks on your body, get them looked at right away. Contact Coastal Skin Surgery to schedule your dermatology check-up today.