Cancer in itself is a daunting word that brings many intense emotions. But when you hear the term skin cancer, what comes to mind? Perhaps how it can happen? What it can look like? Or all the different varieties? Here at Dania Dermatology, we want to make sure our patients know the facts about this incredibly common disease.
1. Skin Cancer Can Appear Anywhere on the Skin
Many people mistakenly believe that skin cancer would be impossible to miss. Often, they expect huge spans of discoloration or irritation across their skin. But in reality, skin cancer can be small and affect any portion of your body. It does tend to appear more in areas exposed to the sun though. As a result, many individuals assume their arms or chest would be the first place it would appear. But it can even start on the face, scalp, and around the eyelids.
2. Skin Cancer Typically Appears As Small Blemishes
Expanding on the last fact, these afflicted areas typically don’t show any major changes at first. Skin cancer usually takes the inconspicuous form of blemishes, such as discolored pimples or moles, that are only subtly different from harmless skin growths. In the case of a pimple, it may be one that bleeds and continues to swell rather than being expressed and healing. As for distinguishing a typical mole from one that has indicators of cancer, it typically comes down to color and shape. If the mole is black, dark blue like a bruise, or uneven/asymmetrical, these can be signs of skin cancer. If you’re even remotely concerned about an unusual blemish or spot, you should see a dermatologist.
3. Most Cases Are Caused By UV Exposure
While there are a few different causes of skin cancer, the majority of cases occur due to UV exposure. That’s why wearing sunblock and protecting your skin with clothing are absolute necessities. While catching some sun on a nice day is a great feeling, you need to understand that the sun’s rays are powerful. Just think about getting a sunburn and how uncomfortable that can be. Now think about when you expose yourself to that a little bit every day you’re in the sun. It all builds up, and eventually, your skin could develop skin care because of it.
4. Smoking Can Increase Your Risk of Skin Cancer
While smoking and tobacco use, in general, are typically affiliated with mouth, throat, and lung cancers, they can also increase the risk of skin cancer. The same chemicals that cause cancer in those areas of the body can lead to an increased risk for squamous cell carcinoma, which is a common and serious type of skin cancer.
5. Sunbeds That Emit UV Rays Are Never Safe
If you’re using a sunbed that emits UV radiation, it will increase your risk of skin cancer. No matter what companies may claim, exposing your skin to intense UV rays in a tanning bed, especially if you start at a young age or book frequent appointments, dramatically increases your skin cancer risk.
Whether you are concerned about a strange skin growth or simply want to get a clean bill of health, we encourage you to contact us at Dania Dermatology. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Stanley Skopit assists patients of all different backgrounds with skin cancer checks. Give us a call at 954-807-9433 to schedule a consultation at our Dania, FL, office today!