Skin cancer can be deadly if you don’t know how to protect yourself or know the signs of skin cancer to look for. The dermatologists at the Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute share the areas of the body most prone to skin cancer, how to protect yourself, and treatment options if you are diagnosed with skin cancer.
Skin cancer is caused by sun damage from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, which most often occurs to areas of the body most exposed to the sun. Typically, this includes your face, arms, back, and neck. To avoid the risk of skin cancer, it is always recommended to use sunscreen whether you plan to be in the sun or not. An SPF of 30 or higher should be applied to the face daily. If you will be in direct sunlight, it should be reapplied often to the areas of your body that are most exposed. If you often experience sunburns, you should wear extra protective clothing and sunglasses and opt for staying in the shade as much as possible.
Skin cancer can be in the form of basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma, (SCC) or melanoma. BCC is the most common. It affects the top layer of the skin and will appear as a shiny or translucent bump that doesn’t go away. SCC appears on the upper layer of skin as well in the form of a growing, scaly bump. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer because it can spread rapidly if not treated immediately. Melanoma can begin in the form of a mole or a lump underneath the skin. An annual visit to the dermatologist and self-exams can help you spot new or changing moles or lumps. Fortunately, there are many treatment options for all types of skin cancer that can be successful if started in a timely manner.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of skin cancer can be lifesaving. The most common signs are in the form of new or changed moles on your body. If a mole changes in symmetry, border, color, or diameter, it is a good idea to contact a dermatologist so they can test it. If they test it and it comes back as skin cancer, there are different treatments they can do based on the severity and type of skin cancer.
For BCC and SCC, the dermatologist will scrape or remove the mole(s). It is a quick and painless procedure. The area is then stitched back up to heal. If you have melanoma that is on top of the skin, a dermatologist will do Mohs Micrographic Surgery. This process involves the dermatologist scraping the skin cancer out until none is left. Every time some is scraped, it will be tested until it comes back negative. If the melanoma is under your skin, surgery may be needed for removal. After diagnosis of BCC, SCC, or melanoma, regular follow-up dermatology appointments will be needed for the dermatologist to ensure the skin cancer has not come back, and if it has, that it can be treated as soon as possible.
We know we all need vitamin D, but it is important to protect your skin with sunscreen in the process. If you have questions about skin cancer and are in Bloomington, Illinois or the surrounding areas, complete this form. A dermatologist from the Dermatology & Mohs Surgery Institute will be in touch.
We look forward to serving you. Please let us know who you are and what kind of skin care services you looking for, and we will be in touch to schedule your appointment.