Skin cancer statistics continue to increase at alarming rates. It is expected that more than 2 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year. Of those, 80% will be basal cell cancers, 16% will be squamous cell cancers and 4% will be melanomas. Melanoma is the most serious of all the skin cancers we see. It is estimated that approximately one in every 37 Americans has a lifetime risk of developing melanoma. This is up from one in 71 Americans just a few years ago.
What can be done about this?
The only risk factor we can really modify is our sun exposure. A sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15 should be used on a daily basis. Sunscreens containing mexoryl, parsol 1789(avobenzone), zinc or titanium seem to block out UVA light most effectively. Remember, sunscreens need to be applied 20-30 minutes before your exposure and need to be reapplied every two hours (or immediately after swimming or perspiration). Hats and protective clothing can dramatically reduce UV exposure. If possible, avoid midday sun exposure. Lastly, periodic skin exams can help detect skin changes before they become serious. Remember the “ABCDEs” of atypical moles.
- border irregularity
- color variation
- diameter greater than 6 mm
For more information or to make an appointment, please call our office.