Skin Cancer Prevention And Early Detection
Skin cancer is the most frequent type of cancer among Americans, reports the CDC. Fortunately, you can prevent it, and early detection affects cures. In Port Charlotte, FL, Dr. Stephen Chiarello performs skin cancer surgeries, and he and his staff at The Dermatology and Skin Care Center of SW FL show people excellent prevention strategies.
Detect and prevent
The Skin Cancer Foundation says that knowledge about these malignancies gives patients the power to prevent and detect them in their earliest, and most curable, stages. This philosophy applies to all skin cancers, including the most common kinds: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma.
While BCC and SCC stay localized and do not spread, they can be disfiguring and cause serious health problems. Melanoma is known for its spread to other bodily organs and for its high mortality rate in advanced cases.
So, detect and prevent to keep your skin--and your overall health--vibrant.
Detecting skin cancer
Along with the American Academy of Dermatology, Dr. Chiarello recommends his Port Charlotte patients follow these early detection practices to avoid a skin cancer diagnosis and surgery:
- Come to the office once a year for a total skin exam beginning at age 40.
- Do a self-exam at home once a month, looking for changes in skin color and texture and in the number of moles (most people have about 50).
- Report any concerning areas to your skin doctor right away, particularly if you have a spot which is slow to heal, itches, oozes, hurts or bleeds.
Also, use this memory jogger to examine your existing moles:
- A for asymmetry. Moles should be similar in size and shape on each half.
- B for border. Healthy moles have well-defined, smooth edges (no notches or scallops).
- C for color. Moles are brown, black or beige. Suspicious moles are multi-colored.
- D for diameter. This measurement should not change; healthy moles are about the size of a pencil-top eraser or smaller.
- E for evolution. Your moles should look the same indefinitely.
Preventing skin cancer
The culprit is the sun and its UV radiation. So, we must limit how much our skin absorbs on a daily basis and cumulatively over a life time. Additionally, no one should use artificial tanning beds, another source of excessive UV radiation exposure.
Here's how you can help yourself and your loved ones avoid skin cancer:
- Wear SPF 30 or higher sunscreen, and re-apply it every two hours.
- Cover-up in the sun with long-sleeves and a broad-brimmed hat.
- Stay indoors during peak sun hours of 10 am to 2 pm.
- Seek shade, and wear sunglasses.
- Keep babies and small children in the shade, too.
It's your skin
Take care of it. In Port Charlotte, The Dermatology and Skin Care Center of SW FL, your highly skilled dermatologist is Dr. Stephen Chiarello. Avoid skin cancer surgery. Book your annual skin exam with him now. Have healthy skin for life. Phone (941) 625-2878.