Health Watch – Save Yourself From Skin Cancer

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Skin cancer is the most common cancer with 3.5 million people getting diagnosed every year in the U.S. It’s also one of the most preventable cancers and very treatable if caught early.  For those who are diagnosed with skin cancer, there is hope.

SLUCare dermatologist and Mohs surgeon, Dr. Eran Chen says, “One in three people in this country will make a skin cancer sometime in their lifetime.”

If you see a strange mole on your skin, you can help save yourself from the disease.  Dr. Chen encourages people of all ethnicities to check their skin on a regular basis.  “If your gut tells you it looks off, definitely get a professional and get a dermatologist to take a look.”

Pay attention to moles that have changed, or have an uneven color or shape.  Dr. Chen says we can make new moles until we are in our 40s.

Basil-cell carcinoma, squamous-cell carcinoma and melanoma can be determined by a dermatologist.  “Most skin cancers are caused by sunburns or sun exposure, especially early in your life.  Those of us with blonde or red hair, light-colored eyes, fair skin are naturally at higher risk.

Here are some tips to help prevent skin cancer:

  • Seek shade, cover up and wear sunscreen.
  • Wear SPF 30 sunscreen, which provides greater and longer protection.  Also choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Avoid tanning booths
  • Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours and immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Perform a monthly head-to-toe self-exam.  Learn the pattern of moles, blemishes, freckles and other marks on your skin so that you’ll notice changes next time.
  • Be sure to undergo a yearly skin exam by your doctor or dermatologist

SLUCare’s dermatologists offer advanced treatments, including Mohs surgery, topical medicines and clinical trials for treating skin cancer.  The goal with any skin cancer is to completely remove the cancer, without affecting the overall aesthetic of the skin.   SLUCare’s Skin Cancer and Melanoma Clinic offers advanced treatments and clinical trials for patients with complex skin cancer.

To learn more or to find a SLUCare dermatologist, click here.

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