Posts for tag: Skin Cancer
When was the last time you checked your skin for suspicious growths?
Self-skin exams are very important and something that everyone should do regularly. After all, how will you ever know that there is a problem lurking in your skin unless you are aware of how your skin looks and feels? From the office of our Tulsa, OK, dermatologist Dr. Lynn Anderson, here are the warning signs of skin cancer.
It’s important to recognize that there are two different kinds of skin cancer: non-melanoma and melanoma. When it comes to the symptoms of non-melanoma skin cancer the most obvious one is an unusual or new growth or sore that appears on the skin and doesn’t go away. The sore may itch or bleed. If you don’t have it checked out you may also notice that it slowly starts to grow or change shape. If this happens it’s time to call your Tulsa, OK, skin doctor.
The three different kinds of non-melanoma skin cancer include:
Basal cell carcinomas: Often found on the head or neck, this flesh-colored bump may contain blood vessels or may ooze or crust over.
Squamous cell carcinomas: These skin growths or lumps are often rough to the touch and may look scaly. They can be found just about anywhere, but are often found on the head, neck, arms and even the genital area.
Merkel cell carcinomas: This skin cancer takes on the appearance of a flesh-colored or red mole. They are most often found on the face, neck or scalp.
While most people will examine areas of the body that are exposed to the sun, it’s also important to recognize that skin cancer can develop on non-exposed portions of the body as well, which is why you should always conduct a full physical exam on yourself, even on areas like the soles of the feet or the genitals.
What are the warning signs of melanoma?
It’s important to be able to spot melanoma early on since it can be a potentially life-threatening form of skin cancer. Warning signs include:
- A growth, lump or sore that doesn’t heal
- Redness or swelling around the growth
- Tenderness, pain or itching
- A sore or mole with a poorly defined border
- A growth that isn’t symmetrical in shape
- A growth that contains more than one color
Don’t let skin cancer sneak up on you. When caught quickly it can be treated and removed before it causes more serious and long-term health problems. Turn to Midtown Dermatology in Tulsa, OK, to schedule your annual skin cancer screening.
While sunshine can be a friend - warming us, growing crops, and giving light - it can be a worry, too. The sun's powerful ultraviolet (UVA and UVB) radiation can not only tan and burn the skin, it can cause skin cancer over time. The American Academy of Dermatology states that UV rays - even from indoor tanning - are directly related to the growth of basal and squamous cell carcinoma, 2 of the most common forms of skin cancer, and also of malignant melanoma, the deadliest kind.
How can we get the sunshine we need for vitamin D production and that general feeling of well-being while still protecting skin from cancerous lesions?
Tips to prevent skin cancer
The Mayo Clinic and other authorities on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all kinds of cancer say that limiting sun exposure, especially between the brightest hours of 10 A.M. and 2 P.M., will reduce the risk of developing wrinkles, "age spots," and skin cancers. When out in the sun for an extended period of time, people should wear a hat with a brim, sunglasses, long pants and tops with long sleeves. In other words, cover up.
Also, it's smart to watch how young adults and children are near sand, snow and water on sunny days because these bright surfaces reflect and intensify the sun's rays. Even cloudy days are problematic, because though it cannot be seen, the sun is still doing its work.
Other skin cancer precautions include:
- Application of sun screen lotion. A Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher is best. Reapply every 2 hours and more frequently if the lotion washes or sweats off.
- Be aware of the side effects of over the counter or prescription medications. Some drugs make the skin extra-sensitive to the sun. Check out medication side effects online, or ask a pharmacist.
- Perform a monthly self-examination of all areas of the skin, including back, scalp, between the toes and areas which never see sunshine. Look for changes in color or texture especially with moles and freckles. Tell your primary physician if you are concerned about an area of your skin.
- See a dermatologist yearly after age 40 for a routine skin examination.
In the Tulsa, Oklahoma area, Lynn Anderson MD FAAD has the health of your skin in mind. Dr. Anderson and her friendly staff want to be sure that you have the best looking skin possible, and that it is totally cancer-free. Call the office today at 918-728-3100 to schedule a consultation on the best way to care for your skin.