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Medical Dermatology

Skin Cancer

It is estimated that one million Americans develop skin cancer every year, making it the most widespread of all cancers. Overexposure to the sun is the primary cause of this condition. Protection against the sun is the best prevention, and early detection is the key to a cure. There are three types of skin cancer.

  • Basal Cell Carcinoma- the most common skin cancer
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Malignant Melanoma

Skin Cancer Prevention Tips:

Avoiding the sun is the most important thing you can do to help prevent skin cancer. Some tips for protecting your skin against the ultraviolet rays are:

  • Stay out of sunlight during peak hours.
  • Apply sunscreens with SPF of at least 15.
  • Wear protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses.
  • Avoid tanning booths.

Develop a routine for regular visual inspection of your body for any skin changes.
Simple steps to accomplish this include:

  • Stand in front of a full length mirror and examine your body, front and back. Raise your arms and look at the right side, then the left.
  • Bend your elbows and look at your forearms, the back of your arms and the palms of your hands.
  • Look at the front and back of your legs, the spaces between your toes, and the soles of your feet.
  • Inspect the back of your neck, your scalp, your back, and buttocks using a hand mirror.

Schedule an appointment with your dermatologist at least once a year for a complete skin exam. If you have had skin cancer, this should be done at least twice a year or at the direction of your dermatologist.

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