Blog

Understanding Skin Cancer

Did you know that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S.?  More than 3 million men and women are diagnosed with skin cancer each year.  Anyone can get skin cancer.  Things that increase your chance of getting skin cancer are sun exposure, skin that burns easily, a family history of skin cancer, and a personal history of skin cancer. 

There are three types of skin cancer: basal cell skin cancer, squamous cell skin cancer, and melanoma. Basal and squamous cell skin cancers are most commonly found on body parts that see the sun. Melanoma is the least common type of skin cancer but it is the most dangerous.  It can spread to other organs in the body, which may make it hard to treat.

The good news is there are many ways you can protect you and your loved ones from the sun!  Follow the suggestions below to lessen your chance of developing skin cancer.

  • Do not let your skin burn.  Stay in the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
  • Cover up your skin with clothing, including a broad brimmed hat.
  • Use broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with 15 SPF or higher every day, even on cloudy days.  Use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with 30 SPF or higher if you plan to be active outdoors.
  • Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside.  Reapply every two hours or right after swimming or a lot of sweating.

Finding skin cancer early is best.  Examine your skin head-to-toe each month.  Tell your doctor about any changes in your skin, especially moles or spots that meet any of the following criteria:

  • A is for Asymmetry: One half of a mole or spot does not match the other.
  • B is for Border: The edges of a mole or spot are ragged or blurred.
  • C is for Color: The color of a mole or spot is not the same all over.  The color may include shades of brown or black, or sometimes patches of pink, red, white, or blue.
  • D is for Diameter: A mole or spot is larger than the size of a pencil eraser.
  • E is for Evolving: A mole or spot is changing in size, shape, or color.

Are you interested in learning more about skin cancer? Check with your healthcare provider and visit Cancer.Net and MedlinePlus.Gov.  You may also attend “Cancer Conversations,” a monthly educational webinar series that Carteret Health Care hosts in partnership with UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. The topic for May is, “Understanding Skin Cancer: Prevention and Treatment,” presented by David Ollila, MD, Professor of Surgery and Associate Director of the NC Cancer Hospital at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

The program is free and open to the general public. This is just another way that the Cancer Center at Carteret Health Care and UNC Lineberger are working together to bring cancer information and resources to your community.

Topic: “Understanding Skin Cancer: Prevention and Treatment”

Date: Friday, May 17, 2019

Time: 12-1PM

Location: Carteret Health Care, Meeting Room 3, Use South entrance

Register: 252-499-6200

Comments are closed for this post, but if you have spotted an error or have additional info that you think should be in this post, feel free to contact us.