If you’re under 30, you may be one of the 50% of people who report getting a sunburn in any given year. This won’t cause skin cancer right away. It can take as many as 20 years for signs of sun damage to emerge. However, every time ultraviolet light affects your skin, your exposure adds up and your chances of a skin cancer diagnosis. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and a prime opportunity to pay attention to how UV rays can harm your skin.
The cost of sunburns and tanning sessions add up over time. If you have a history of these or previous bouts of skin cancer, book an annual visit for your skin check with Board-Certified Dermatologist Dr. Vicki Rapaport at Rapaport Dermatolog, with offices in Beverly Hills and Culver City, California,
Primary care providers may include a skin check during your visits. A comprehensive skin exam helps to find moles or growths that might suggest problems, using a special light to highlight any irregularities.
A professional skin check with Dr. Rapaport ensures that hard-to-see body parts are checked thoroughly for signs of skin cancer.
Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the skin cancers most often seen. You could see these first as tiny red nodules or as patches of scaly skin. The spots may be raised or ooze or bleed easily. Basal cell carcinomas could also look like brown scars or flesh-toned lesions. Squamous cell carcinomas sometimes form as rough-textured lumps on your skin that grow slowly and won’t clear up on their own.
Melanomas are more dangerous, but fortunately, these don’t occur as often. They may look like moles, but usually with some irregularities. The ABCDE mnemonic helps to identify melanomas. The steps include:
Discuss any skin or mole changes you experience with Dr. Rapaport for further investigation. Changes aren’t a guarantee you’re developing skin cancer, but it’s prudent to check these when they occur.
If your growth is cancerous, you have options including cryotherapy and excision. Mohs surgery is a delicate excision procedure where the growth or mole is removed one layer at a time to reduce trauma and damage to your surrounding healthy tissue.
Some cases of skin cancer are preventable though sometimes genetic factors could play a role. You can, however, control your exposure to the harmful UV rays in sunlight, including:
To book your annual skin check call Rapaport Dermatology today.