Let’s Get Clear on Skin Cancer

We’re not much different than anyone else come the end of hibernation season. As the weather heats up, we love the outdoors. At the same time, we understand that we have to find balance between the benefits of sunlight and its stimulation of vitamin D in the body and the potential for skin cancer. As your Westport dermatology office, we are here to help you do that.

Skin cancer affects about 1 in 5 Americans. Though treatable when caught early, skin cancer is a medical problem that is better prevented when possible. It is possible to prevent skin cancer by wearing appropriate broad-spectrum sunscreen every day and also by knowing important factors that relate to risk. We’ll discuss a few here.

Skin Cancer Can Look Like a Pimple

One of the challenges of skin cancer is that a newly-formed cancerous lesion can look so innocuous that it goes unnoticed. Basal cell carcinomas often look like a sore or spot that has been scratched but isn’t healing quickly. These cancerous growths often develop on the most sun-exposed areas of the skin, including the shoulders, upper ears, face, and scalp. A pimple-looking growth that is pink or red and that persists for more than a few weeks should get examined by a dermatologist.

Skin Cancer Might Itch

People often ask if itching is a symptom of skin cancer. It can be, but isn’t always so should not be counted as an accurate measure for assessing a new growth. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas may itch (or not) and may also feel painful or tingly. A good rule of thumb is to take note if a growth doesn’t feel like your normal skin. In the instance that this occurs, schedule a consultation with your dermatologist. Also, we must acknowledge that melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, may cause zero discomfort. This is why we must use a variety of measurements to diagnose this condition.

Genetics May Influence Skin Cancer Risk

It is not possible to inherit skin cancer from a parent. It is possible, however, to inherit the genetic mutations that increase the risk of this condition. This has been found to be especially relevant in cases of melanoma. If you have a strong family history of melanoma or any other form of skin cancer, it is important to maintain regular skin cancer screenings as recommended by your dermatologist.

Know your skin cancer risk and how to protect yourself from this preventable disease. Schedule your skin cancer screening at Westport Dermatology today.

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