While many visit their local dermatologist to contend with acne and other skin issues, some skin problems are more serious than others. One of the most common forms of skin damage that can quickly turn dangerous is melanoma or nonmelanoma skin cancer. According to current estimates in the United States, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in his or her lifetime. This breaks down to more than 3.5 million non-melanoma skin cancer diagnoses in more than 2 million individuals annually in the U.S.
While skin cancer is caused by an interplay of factors, such as environmental and genetic factors, one of the best ways to prevent and treat skin cancer is through education and understanding. Check out these key facts regarding skin cancer:
The Signs and Symptoms
Checking your skin regularly for atypical moles and irregularities is crucial for catching skin cancer before it escalates. Normal moles are typically evenly colored brown, tan, or black spots on the skin. If a mole is unusually shaped, discolored, or is changing rapidly, it might be time to visit a dermatologist to get it checked out. Other signs of skin cancer are sores that won’t heal, the spreading of pigmentation, changes in sensation, or noticeable changes on the mole’s surface. According to research, people with irregular moles are 50 times more at risk for getting skin cancer than individuals who have normal moles.
Treating Skin Cancer
Depending on what kind of skin cancer you have and the severity of it, there are many options available for treating skin cancer. One treatment for skin cancer is electron beam therapy. This treatment for skin cancer is non-surgical and employs the use of electron laser beams to destroy cancer cells in the area it’s targeting. Meanwhile, the treatment allows for the protection of healthy cells.
There are many ways to be proactive about skin cancer, but the two most effective are diligence and protection — namely, from the sun. Visit your dermatologist regularly to receive skin examinations, and try to stay out of the sun as much as possible. When in the sun, wear sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher.