Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Despite how common skin cancer is, you'd be surprised what you don't know about this sometimes deadly disease. If you want all the facts, here are a few critical pieces of information you need to know about skin cancer.
It's unfortunate, but it's true. This is why wearing sunscreen and avoiding direct exposure to sunlight on your skin is so important. And not just during the summer months, either. UVA and UVB radiation can still penetrate the cloud barrier, and the sun doesn't magically disappear during the winter. Almost 90% of melanoma skin cancers and 86% of melanomas have been directly linked to UV radiation from the sun. Squamous cell carcinomas and basal cell carcinomas have also been linked to UV radiation exposure. So if you've suffered from frequent sunburns in the past or have fair skin, it's important to schedule regular skin cancer screenings to make sure any signs of skin cancer are caught as early as possible.
While most melanomas are depicted on bare skin, the truth is that melanomas can develop almost anywhere on your body. This includes areas like the scalp, nails, feet, mouth, and even places like your groin which aren't typically exposed to sunlight. Hidden melanomas are a huge risk. If they're not caught early and treated, they can spread rapidly to other areas of the body, including internal organs. Remember that not all skin cancers are caused by direct exposure to sunlight. Again, this is one of the many reasons why regular skin cancer screenings are so important.
As we just covered, UV radiation can contribute to skin cancer. That doesn't just mean UV radiation from the sun, either. UV radiation from tanning bulbs is notorious for contributing to the development of skin cancer. Even a single indoor tanning session can increase your risk of developing skin cancer. So if you really feel like you need that summertime glow, invest in a self-tanning cream or a spray-tan to protect your skin from harm.
Sunscreen is one of the most basic tools in your skin cancer prevention toolkit. People of all skin tones need to use sunscreen as protection from UV radiation. It's also of the utmost importance that sunscreen is applied correctly. That means applying at least 15 minutes before stepping outside and applying multiple coats of sunscreen if you swim or sweat, or have been wearing your prior application for two hours. Doing so will ensure that your skin is properly protected from the sun's rays while you're outdoors. And while sunscreen shouldn't be the only thing protecting you from the sun, it should always be first on your to-do list before setting foot in the sun.
Understanding these vital facts about skin cancer can make all the difference in the world if you want to avoid developing it or receive skin cancer treatment as early as possible. If you have questions or want to set up a skin cancer screening, contact SE Dermatology Specialists today.