THE CHANGING SEASONS AND SKIN CANCER

Fall is just around the corner which means summer fun and playing in the sun will soon be but a fond memory!

But fall and winter can bring leisurely, cooler walks and perhaps a ski vacation.

Whatever the season and whatever the reason, if you spend time outside, your skin is bombarded by the the sun’s UV rays…prematurely aging it, causing “age spots,” wrinkles and sometimes skin cancer.

Skin cancer is due to the development of abnormal cells that may invade or spread to other parts of the body. The three types of skin cancer are:

  • Basal cell cancer…is a slow growing cancer which is unlikely to spread to distant areas of the body or cause death. It appears as a painless, sometimes shiny raised area of the skin.
  • Squamous cell cancer…is more likely to spread. It appears as a hard lump with a scaly top.
  • Melanoma…is the most aggressive. Moles that have changed in size, color or shape or are itchy or bleed are some of the signs of melanoma.

What do you know about skin cancer and its prevention?

• Sunscreen helps block the rays than lead to skin cancer but it does not prevent it…sun damage is cumulative. To be effective, sunscreen must be worn!
• Choose a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays because both are damaging to your skin.
• People with many moles have a higher risk of melanoma.
• Other risk factors include advanced age, heredity, light skin color and exposure to tanning beds.
• Over one million people in the U.S. each year are diagnosed with skin cancer. Unfortunately, many more go undiagnosed.
• Skin cancer is serious, but most skin cancers, if found early, are treatable.

TIP: It is critical as you age to have your skin checked at least once a year for any changes or abnormalities, to have any pre-cancerous lesions treated and to examine any new, changed or otherwise suspicious growths.

At Westport Dermatology and Laser Center we specialize in skin cancer surgery.
Call us at 203.226.3600 for a consultation.