CAN YOU NAME the most common form of cancer? For your health (and information!), the answer is, by far, skin cancer. The American Cancer Society maintains that of the main types of skin cancer, 3.5 million basal and squamous cells skin cancers will be diagnosed and over 73,000 cases of the more deadly melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2015 alone.
RISK FACTORS FOR SKIN CANCER
The main risk factor for skin cancer is ultraviolet radiation from the sun, also called UV rays. Tanning beds are another common source. The radiation from these rays essentially damages your skin at the cellular level. After many years of damage, skin cancer can occur. Those with pale skin suffer more damage and are at a greater risk of developing skin cancer. Other risk factors include having multiple and/or unusual moles, a family history of skin cancer, a weakened immune system, and natural aging.
YOUR DERMATOLOGIST CAN HELP
Since catching cancer as early as possible is so important, report any warning signs to your dermatology provider so they can be checked out. Any growth or mole, old or new, which changes in size, shape or pigmentation is cause for concern. Similarly, you should also ask your dermatology provider if any mole or growth bleeds or oozes fluid.
Mohs Micrographic Surgery is one of the latest advancements in skin cancer treatment. In a precise surgical technique, cancerous skin cells are removed little by little and tested until no further cancerous cells remain.
This column is sponsored by Central Florida Dermatology.
column by JODY DEMAY SCHMIDT, ARNP-DCNP
BIO: Jody DeMay Schmidt, ARNP-DCNP, is a Dermatology Certified Nurse Practitioner. She graduated from Florida Atlantic University in 1996 with a Master’s degree in nursing. She has been practicing in Lake Wales since 1999. For more information about Jodie and the staff at Central Florida Dermatology, go to www.centralfldermatology.com or call (863) 293-2147 to make an appointment.