Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer and affects about 5 million people in the United States each year. Skin cancer is so common that there are more new cases each year than breast, prostate, colon, and lung cancer combined. The three different types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. It is important to know how to recognize the early warning signs, as well as know what steps you can take to prevent the disease.
In order to detect skin cancer early, it is important to watch for signs of concern:
If you notice any of these signs it is important to have them checked by a doctor who specializes in skin diseases as soon as possible.
Prevention is the simplest way to ease worries about developing skin cancer. Basic prevention includes limiting your skins exposure to both natural and artificial ultraviolet radiation (UV rays). There are two different types of UV rays:
Steps you can take to limit your exposure to UV rays include reducing the number of hours you spend in direct sunlight, using a sunscreen that offers both UVA and UVB protection (broad spectrum), staying away from tanning booths, and wearing clothing that protects skin from sun exposure. It is also important to conduct monthly self-examinations to look for any skin abnormalities.
Jaime Venditti, State Coordinator, New York Health Works