By: Michael Stickler, MD / Board-Certified Dermatologist and Mohs Surgeon
The new year is here, and for many of us it’s time to get started on our New Year’s resolutions. And, I have a suggestion for one thing that needs to be on everyone’s list – an annual skin exam.
So, why not pick up the phone and make an appointment to get your skin checked this month or next, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing your skin is cancer free? In fact, why not make getting your annual skin exam every January or February your new resolution!
Why Is An Annual Skin Exam So Important?
As we age our skin that was once smooth and clear as a young child begins to show signs of aging and sun damage. And yes, one of the potential dangers of sun damage is definitely skin cancer, which can present itself in various ways, with one of the most common being irregular moles. In fact, an estimated 90 percent of all skin aging is caused by the sun. That’s why we pay very special attention to moles that are oddly shaped and have poorly defined borders, those with unusual or varied coloring and are larger than “normal” or are changing in appearance. Why all the attention? The reason for all this attention is that moles with these types of characteristics might be skin cancer.
Understanding The Types Of Skin Cancer An Annual Skin Exam Can Spot.
There are three primary types of skin cancer that we are concerned with and screen for: melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. The latter two are fairly common and treatment is generally straightforward and successful. However, this is not always the case with melanoma – which accounts for approximately two percent or less of all skin cancers annually. Melanoma can be far more fatal than basal and squamous cell carcinomas when not detected and treated early. That’s why early detection and having an annual skin exam is so important.
Whether you are a man or a woman, work inside or outside, skin cancer is nothing to take a chance with. So, take the time – not the risk and call your local Dermatology Specialists office to schedule your 2018 skin exam.
And remember, our Aqua Medical Spa team offers proven treatments to reverse sun damage, including chemical peels, laser treatments and photorejuvination, as well as a full line of skin care products for restoring and protecting your skin from the sun.
Thank you and Happy New Year from all of us at Aqua Medical Spa and Dermatology Specialists.
Here Are A Few Facts We Think Everyone Should Know
- Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
- Between 40 and 50 percent of Americans who live to age 65 will have either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma at least once during their life.
- Melanoma accounts for less than one percent of skin cancer cases, but the vast majority of skin cancer deaths.
- About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
- Sun damage is cumulative. Only about 23 percent of lifetime exposure occurs by age 18.
- Regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40 percent and the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.
- More people develop skin cancer because of tanning than develop lung cancer because of smoking. In fact, more than 400,000 cases of skin cancer in the U.S. each year are linked to indoor tanning.
- Those who have ever tanned indoors have a 67 percent increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma and a 29 percent increased risk of developing basal cell carcinoma.