When it comes to dermatological issues, we see everything from the pesky but harmless to the potentially deadly. We perform procedures that can make you feel and look younger, and those that allow you to live to a ripe old age. One of the most important services we provide is skin cancer screening and treatment. Kallgren Dermatology Clinic is your resource to turn to for screening and treatment options.
Skin Cancer Frequency
According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common skin cancer, with basal and squamous cell cancers affecting 3.3 million Americans a year, with many people having more than one. Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer affects more than 76,000 people a year.
Types of Skin Cancer
Basal and Squamous Cell Cancer
This type of skin cancer occurs on skin-exposed areas of skin and occur in the upper layers of the skin. When caught early, before they have a chance to spread, they are easy to remove.
Melanoma occurs in the deeper layers of the skin and can be found anywhere on the body. When discovered early, this from of cancer is very treatable. If it goes undetected and metastasizes, meaning the cancer cells have entered the bloodstream and have spreads, in can be much more difficult, if not impossible to treat. Melanoma causes more than 13,000 deaths a year.
Self Screen and Yearly Screenings at the Dermatologist
Keep an eye on your body. There are risk factors such as family history, fair skin and a history of serious burns that can increase the likelihood of you having cancer, but anyone can develop and so everyone needs to be vigilant.
Signs to bring to the attention of your dermatologist include the following:
- A new mole after age 21
- Change in size or thickness of a mole
- Change in the outline of a mole
- Change of color of a mole
- Change in texture of a mole
- A sore that doesn’t heal or won’t stop bleeding
Skin Cancer Screenings
Kallgren Dermatology, like most dermatologists, does annual skin cancer screenings. Your dermatologist will use a special light and a magnifying glass to examine every inch of your exposed skin and look for suspect spots and moles. They will look for the signs noted above as well as actinic keratosis. These small scaly spots are pre-cancerous patches and will be removed by cryosurgery, of frozen off, just as a wart would be. It is painless, just a little uncomfortable when they apply the liquid nitrogen to the tiny spot. You’ll get a bandaid, and the spot will heal within days. If your doctor finds something more suspect, a biopsy may be taken, and you may require a Moh’s Surgery, which we will cover in a future blog.
Skin Cancer Prevention
It is never too late to start protecting your skin from damage from UVA and UVB rays, the causes of skin cancer. Here are some general tips to minimize your exposure to UVA and UBV rays.
- Limit your sun exposure. This means to limit the hours of sun exposure but also the hours during which you are in the sun. Try to avoid being in the sun between the hours of 10 and 4.
- Wear a wide brim hat and a long sleeve shirt when you are in the sun.
- Use broad spectrum sunscreen, such as EltaMD products that are available in our office.
- Avoid tanning beds.
Call today for an appointment for your annual skin cancer screening appointment.