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Skins Cancer Facts – What You Need to Know

There will be roughly 3 million skin cancers diagnosed in the United States this year, approximately 8500 per day.

  Types of skins cancers 

There are different types of skin cancer and some are easily treated when caught early.

   Screenings play a vital role

Skin cancer is highly treatable when detected early. Screenings play an important role in prevention. Screening in the average patient with mild sun damage is best by the primary care doctor (which they do at the physical) or by the patient themselves. We recommend a monthly self-exam. For those with significant sun damage or tanning booth exposure, an annual screening may be adequate.

If you have had a skin cancer, it depends on the type and number – screening can be as frequent as 2-3 months. It is important that ophthalmologic, dental, and gyn exams are up to date as cancers of the skin can occur in those areas.

  What does a screening entail

Skin screening is a simple visual exam often times with a hand held microscope or dermascope to aid in the evaluation of the lesion. Any new, changing, itching, or bleeding mole should be evaluated.

  If you can spot it, you can stop it

Regular self-exams are important to detect early signs of skin cancer. The Skin Cancer Foundation providers some warning signs to look for:

– changes color
– increases in size or thickness
– changes in texture
– is irregular in outline
– is bigger than 6mm or 1/4″, the size of a pencil eraser
– appears after age 21

If you notice any possible issues, don’t overlook it. Don’t delay. If you see any change in an existing mole, freckle, or spot or if you find a new one with any of the warning signs of skin cancer, see a physician, preferably a dermatologist who specializes in diseases of the skin.

  How to stay sun safe

About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. While not all skin cancers are caused by the sun, sun is the single most preventable risk factor. Sunscreen, hats, sunglasses should be worn regularly. Don’t forget that there is exposure in the winter as ultraviolet light is reflected off snow, and there is increasing exposure with higher altitudes.

  Sunscreen recommendations

Sunscreen is an important means of protection from the harmful rays of the sun. Unfortunately, many people don’t use sunscreen correctly!

Here are some helpful hints:

The dedicated and caring Dermatology Department at Starling Physicians is here to help. Call us today at (860) 348-4242 to schedule a visit in our New Britain or Rocky Hill location.