North Atlanta Dermatology is an advocate and leader in the awareness and treatment of Skin Cancer; therefore, we encourage all our patients to schedule yearly full body exams.
By: Beth Galvin | MyFoxAtlanta
As the Memorial Day holiday weekend nears, people are gearing up to head outside for fun in the summer sun. But the sun’s rays can be harmful and it is important that people use skin protection when they spend time outdoors. Nowadays, Sue Peasley stays out of the sun, but for more than 20 years, she couldn’t get enough of it. Between the sun and the tanning bed, Peasley got her fair share of rays. “Probably, usually once a week. Once a week, unless I was going on a vacation and wanted to get that base tan,” said Peasley.
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Early Detection Can Save Your Life!
Since skin cancer is so prevalent today, we recommend that everyone learn how to recognize the signs of skin cancer, use this knowledge to perform regular examinations of their skin, and see your dermatologist annually (more frequently if at high risk) for a full body exam.
Did you know?
- Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. One million new cases are diagnosed every year.
- Skin cancer accounts for more than 50% of all cancers combined, including breast, lung, and prostate cancer
- The two most common types of skin cancer—Basal Cell and Squamous Cell Carcinomas—are highly curable
- Melanoma, the third most common skin cancer, is the most dangerous. However, with early detection and proper treatment Melanoma has a high cure rate.
- Individuals with dark skin pigmentation do not contract melanoma as easily as those with fair skin, but once contracted, dark skinned people have a lower long-term survival rate
- Approximately, 90% of melanomas are caused by over exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light or sunlight, other from the sun or tanning beds
- When diagnosed early, skin cancer has a 96% cure rate
People with certain risk factors are more likely than others to develop skin cancer. Risk factors vary for different types of skin cancer, but some general risk factors include:
- Lighter natural skin color
- Family history of skin cancer
- Personal history of skin cancer
- Exposure to the sun through work and play
- A history of sunburns early in life
- Skin that becomes painful in the sun
- Skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily
- Blue or green eyes
- Blonde or red hair
- Certain types and a large number of moles
The best way to prevent skin cancer is to protect yourself from the sun. When used consistently, sun-protective practices can reduce a person’s risk of developing skin cancer. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends five easy options for sun protection:
- Seek shade, especially during midday hours (10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.), when UV rays are strong and do the most damage
- Cover up with clothing to protect exposed skin
- Get a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, head, ears, and neck
- Grab shades that wrap around and block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible
- Sunscreen with sun protective factor (SPF) 15 or higher, and both UVA and UVB protection. (Consult your dermatologist regarding the ingredients of your sunscreen). All sunscreens are not created equal. The ingredients are more protective than an increased SPF product.
Other Skin Cancer Links
Types of Skin Cancer and What Skin Cancer Looks Like
Diagnosis and Treatment
The average cure rate with Early Detection
Map your moles and how to give yourself a Skin Examination (requires Adobe Reader for viewing)
People of all races and colors get skin cancer
Sunscreen and Sun Protective Clothing
Cancer cases have increased for those individuals who occasionally visit tanning salons! If you want to look like you’ve been in the sun, consider using a sunless self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.
Here are a few more tips:
- Don’t forget your ears, nose, neck, hands, and toes. Many skin cancers develop in these areas. Protect your lips, another high-risk area, with lip balm that offers sun protection with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Sunscreen should not be used to prolong sun exposure. Some UV light gets through sunscreen.
- Sunscreens should be applied to dry skin 15-30 minutes before going outdoors, and reapplied approximately every two hours.
- Be sure to reapply sunscreen after being in water or sweating.
Remember: Sunscreen does NOT make sunbathing safe.
Recommended Sunscreen Products:
Elta, Vanicream, Blue Lizard, Neutrogena & Aveeno