Skin Cancer… the most common cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 5 Americans and 1 in 3 Caucasians will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC), the most common form of skin cancer, is estimated to affect about 1 million Americans annually and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the second most common skin cancer, is estimated to afflict more than 250,000. Melanomais the most serious form of skin cancer. While it is not the most common, it causes the most deaths. However, if recognized and treated early, it is usually curable.

Everyone is at some risk for skin cancer but increased risk depends on several factors including sun exposure, skin type, number of moles on the skin, and family history. Many of these risk factors are beyond our control and cannot be prevented or changed. However, one risk factor is controllable: the amount of sun exposure received in a person’s lifetime. More than 90% of skin cancers are caused by sun exposure, and a person’s risk for skin cancer doubles if they have had five or more sunburns. Tanning beds also contribute to the risk of developing skin cancer, and according to the American Cancer Society even the occasional use of a tanning bed almost triples the chances of developing melanoma. Therefore, limiting sun exposure and avoiding tanning beds is essential.

When outdoors, protect yourself from the sun by wearing a sunscreen of SPF 30+ with Zinc Oxide and UV protective clothing.

Early detection is the best defense in treating all skin cancers. A monthly self skin exam is a great way to detect new or changing moles. Look for the “ABCDE’s” of skin cancer: A stands for Asymmetry, B stands for Border, C for Color, D for Diameter and E for Evolving or changing. Schedule your yearly skin exam for a complete evaluation.

Tans are out-unhealthy like smoking! Spread the word that pale is the new tan!