Regular skin examinations performed by a dermatologist are critical in detecting skin cancer or the early stages of it. What healthcare providers call a “skin check” is the only way to understand what’s happening in and on your skin. So who should have a skin check?
Everybody, including the person in your mirror!
That’s right, everyone is susceptible to the damaging effects of the sun, which in some cases lead to skin cancer. When caught in a precancerous state, or in the early development phases of cancer, screening first and then treatment can take care of the problem.
DermSurgery of Houston is passionate about the skin and what can go wrong with it. We understand that skin cancer is very different from other types of cancer, and our message to everyone is the same: Have your skin checked every year, especially after you’ve moved into middle age.
About skin cancer
If you’re not convinced that skin cancer is something to be concerned with, check out these facts:
- More than 3.3 million Americans each year are treated for non-melanoma skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma
- Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer. It’s rarely fatal with prompt treatment, but even still about 3,000 people a year die from it
- As high as 90 percent of non-melanoma cancers come as a result of over-exposure to the sun
- Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, with one person dying from it every 57 minutes
- Melanoma accounts for only about 2 percent of skin cancers but is responsible for the overwhelming majority of deaths from cancer of the skin
What does skin cancer look like?
In its very early stages, most skin cancers are not detectible by regular people. As the cancer grows, commonly from a mole or areas of skin damage, a person often can see “unusual” spots or skin formations. Don’t be alarmed – most skin spots are harmless, although maybe not pretty to look at. However, if you’re concerned about a mole that’s changing shape or color, only a proper skin cancer screening can tell you if it’s something you’ll need to address.
What causes skin cancer?
Cancer can happen at any time and for numerous reasons. Where the skin is concerned, the sun and its potentially dangerous ultraviolet rays is a big culprit. This has been demonstrated by medical science. And unfortunately, the likelihood of developing skin cancer increases with more time under the sun. This means that the older we get, the more chance we have of being negatively affected.
Prevention and testing
The best defense against the sun’s UV rays is either clothing or sunscreen with an SPF of no less than 15. Being out in the sun for any length of time without proper protection is asking for trouble. Do all that you can to safeguard your skin, and take the added safety measure of having a comprehensive skin check on an annual basis.
DermSurgery Associates has a team of highly qualified skin cancer doctors that regularly perform skin checks on their patients. Contact them for an appointment by calling 713.791.9966 or through the online contact form.