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Skin Cancer Prevention, Screening, and Treatment

Wearing sunscreen and protective gear anytime you are exposed to sun is important to preventing skin damage and skin cancer.

Though people with fair skin that burns easily are more at risk for developing skin cancer, everyone is at risk for skin cancer. Regardless of your skin tone, it’s important to take the necessary precautions to protect your skin from overexposure. Protecting your skin from extensive sun exposure can also help prevent wrinkles, sunspots, and uneven skin tone.

To Protect Your Skin

  • Limit direct sunlight during the hours of 10am and 4pm when the UV rays are strongest.
  • Monitor the UV index to prevent overexposure on days when the Index is moderate or higher.
  • Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF on any exposed skin, and don’t forget to re-apply at least every 2 hours. The effectiveness of sunscreen depends on the SPF, which is the sun protection factor, and physicians recommend at least 30 SPF. A broad-spectrum sunscreen will protect your skins from both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Wear clothing and other protective gear, like a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses, to increase sun protection and decrease potential damage.

Types of Skin Cancer

There are different types of skin cancer that have different warning signs and will look differently on your skin.

  • Melanoma. Melanoma often resembles moles and are usually black or brown. Asymmetry, an uneven border, and having a variety of colors are signs that a mole is malignant Melanoma. It is the most common form of cancer in people ages 25 – 29, but people of all ages should check their skin each month to detect abnormalities early on.
  • Basic Cell Carcinoma. Basic Cell Carcinoma is the most frequently occurring type of skin cancer, and almost half of Americans will have either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma at least once by the age of 65. This type of skin cancer typically looks like sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, or a scar.
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma. The warning signs of Squamous Cell Carcinoma are a thick, rough, scaly patch that will bleed if irritated. It can also look like an open sore or a wart.

An odd looking mole might just seem like an abnormality to some people, but it can be a sign of something much more serious. Dermatologists are the only ones who can tell if a mole is cancerous, so be sure to schedule an appointment with your physician if you notice a discolored mole.

Skin Cancer Treatment in Tacoma, WA

Your physician will do a skin cancer screening during an exam to identify any moles or lesions that may be skin cancer. If skin cancer is confirmed, she can perform surgery to remove and treat it. If you want to schedule an appointment for skin cancer screening, contact Northwest Medical Specialties, PLLC at (253) 428-8700.