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If you haven’t already seen it all over our social media accounts, then you should know that May is…Skin Cancer Awareness Month. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), “It is estimated that 144,860 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the United States in 2016.” This shocking number should make you want to get smart about skin cancer ASAP! We have pulled information from the expert sites on skin cancer, as well as some tips from some of our very own physicians to quickly brief you on the important facts about this disease.
It is very important to note that two of the most common types of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are curable once detected and treated in the early stages. This makes it that much more important to know the signs of skin cancer, keep track of changes in your skin, and visit your dermatologist once a year for skin cancer screenings.
So what is skin cancer exactly?
Skin cancer like other forms of cancer is caused by an abnormal growth of cells, in this case the growth is within your skin cells. There are six different types of skin cancer. Listed below is an explanation of each type from the Skin Cancer Foundation.
How do I know it’s cancer?
Keeping track of the changes to your body is an extremely important step in staying healthy. In turn, tracking the changes your skin experiences is important for being proactive about skin cancer. Have you noticed a new mole on your skin, or maybe a mole has gotten bigger? These are things to note and alert your dermatologist of during your visits. The American Academy of Dermatology outlines 5 characteristics to look for when examining moles and growths on your skin. They are know as the ABCDE’s of melanoma.
Sun protection tips from our physicians at Advanced Dermatology P.C.:
Dr. Joshua Fox: “Sunscreen is a key element of a sun protection program, but it isn’t enough. You should stay out of the sun when rays are the strongest, cover up with clothing and a wide-brimmed hat, and wear UV-blocking sunglasses.” Read more.
Dr. Romeo Morales: “Use a broad spectrum sunscreen year round with a SPF of at least 30. Apply 30 minutes prior to going into the sun and reapply every two hours.” Read more.
Dr. Suzanne Friedler: “People need to be reminded that most sun damage doesn’t happen from sitting on the beach, but from being in the sun while doing daily activities including outdoor sports.” Read more.
Dr. Whitney Bowe: “7 Places you’re probably forgetting to put sunscreen: Scalp, lips, eyelids, tops of your hands, your shoulders, the tops of your feet.”
Dr. Robert Levine: “Winter sun can be even more harmful, in part because we don’t feel the heat and don’t perceive the risk but also because the sun’s rays are stronger at higher altitudes and when they reflect off snow. Avoid the sun at midday, especially at high elevation: Try to stay out of the sun between 10am and 4pm when the sun’s rays are strongest.” Read more.
Keeping your skin as safe as possible is our mission! All of our physicians and assistants are fully experienced and equipped in detecting and treating skin cancer.
Treatment options include:
To learn more about each of these treatment options visit our skin cancer page.
Meet our MOHS surgeon: Dr. Aza Lefkowitz
Board certified in both Dermatology and Mohs Microsurgery, Dr. Lefkowitz has been a member of Advanced Dermatology and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery since 2001. He has also authored over a dozen peer-reviewed research papers and presentations on skin cancer.
To learn more about MOHS skin cancer surgery available at our facilities, click here.
This May, be sure to stop into our offices for skin cancer screenings, educational information and more! Contact any of our offices for more information.