Skin Cancer 101: Types, Causes, and Risk Factors
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, and it is usually caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun. Your dermatologist is an expert at skin cancer diagnosis and treatment. Dr. Adam Pritzker at Savannah Dermatology Clinic in Savannah, GA, provides a wide range of dermatology services, including diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer.
What You Need To Know About Skin Cancer
You are at greater risk of developing skin cancer if you:
- Have fair skin
- Sunburn easily
- Have a family history of skin cancer
- Spend a lot of time outside
There are several types of skin cancer, including:
- Squamous cell carcinoma, developing where squamous cells are located in the more superficial layers of skin
- Basal cell carcinoma, developing where the basal cells are located, in the deeper layers of skin
- Melanoma, the most aggressive type of skin cancer, developing in the melanocytes, the skin cells responsible for skin color
Regular self-checks of your skin can help detect early signs of skin cancer. You need to look for:
- Rough, scaly patches of skin
- Red, irritated patches of skin
- Large moles which are over 6 millimeters in diameter
- Irregularly shaped or asymmetrical moles
- Poorly defined moles with irregular, ragged borders
- Recurring moles that were previously removed
- Moles that itch, bleed, or ooze
If you notice any of the signs or symptoms listed above, you need to visit your dermatologist, who may remove the mole or sample of tissue for a biopsy. A biopsy determines whether the skin cells are benign, abnormal, or cancerous.
If you do have skin cancer, your dermatologist may recommend:
- Cryosurgery, which involves freezing cancerous tissue
- Excision, which involves removing cancerous tissue
- Mohs micrographic surgery, which involves removing cancerous skin layers one at a time and examining each layer under a microscope
- Chemotherapy and radiation treatment for cases of melanoma
You can do a lot to prevent skin cancer. You need to:
- Always wear a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every day
- Always wear a sunscreen of at least SPF 50 if you are at higher risk of developing skin cancer
- Avoid direct sun exposure from 10 AM to 2 PM, when ultraviolet rays are the most intense
- Wear a hat, sunglasses, and other protective items
Want To Know More?
To find out about prevention, signs, symptoms, and treatment of skin cancer, call Dr. Pritzker at Savannah Dermatology Clinic in Savannah, GA. You can reach him in the office by calling (912) 352-8974, so call today.