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Melanoma is a deadly type of skin cancer that affects almost 77,000 people each year in the U.S. and causes about 9,500 deaths. Recent research shows that individuals between the ages of 45 and 64 are the most likely to be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer. Although treatment methods have improved, melanoma still accounts for about 75% of all deaths from skin cancer.
The increase in popularity of tanning over the last few decades has led to greater numbers of individuals being diagnosed with some form of skin cancer. Damage to DNA resulting from exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun is the cause of skin cancer. This damage can also be done through using tanning beds. If a person begins using tanning beds before age 30 they are 75% more likely to develop melanoma skin cancer. Exposure to the sun as an adult is a less important risk factor than exposure as a child and pale skin increases your risk in general.
The best way to avoid the damaging effects of the sun is to first and foremost limit your exposure and alsoto wear sunscreen. Over-exposure to the sun without protection is bad for the health of your skin as well as its appearance. If you currently use tanning beds you should stop using them to avoid being a victim of skin cancer. Your risk may also be affected by your genetics if other people in your family have had skin cancer.
If you notice any change in your skin such as the growth of a mole, marks, bumps, or pigmentation changes you should have them looked at by a dermatologist. Itchiness, pain, oozing, or bleeding should also be taken seriously and examined.
Melanoma skin cancer usually requires surgery and early removal is required for the best chances of survival. If you have been diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer you may decide to have Mohs surgery. Non-melanoma skin cancers however can often be treated without invasive surgery. You can read more about non-melanoma skin cancers including basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma here. These types of skin cancer are less likely to spread to other areas of the body and less life threatening than melanoma, although they should be treated as early as possible. You can learn more about non-invasive skin cancer removal here.
The Skin Cancer Radiotherapy Institute offers patients superficial radiotherapy (SRT), an effective, safe, and non-surgical treatment option for a non-melanoma skin cancer. SRT is a low energy radiation therapy that only penetrates a small distance into the skin. Patients are especially attracted to the fact that it is painless, highly effective, and no cutting whatsoever is involved with little to no scarring. To learn more about this procedure visit Skin Cancer Radiotherapy Institute here.