Skin cancers are caused, in the most part, by overexposure of the skin to UV radiation.
Melanomas result in approximately 700 deaths each year, and nearly 125,000
Australians have skin cancer at this moment and are unaware of the condition.
Most skin cancers can be avoided by protecting the skin against the sun. Nearly all skin cancers can be treated and cured if detected on early stages. When not treated, some skin cancers can metastasize to more distant areas of the body and can be fatal.
In 1993, specialists excised about 225,000 skin cancers, and very large percentiles of such cancers were found in the face and neck.
1. INCIDENCE OF SKIN CANCER IS INCREASING
We recommend our patients: 1. Inform yourself about skin cancer and the exposure to ultraviolet rays. 2. Avoid sun exposure as much as possible, especially from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, when the exposure is the most harmful. 3. If you need to be outdoors or exposed to the sun, wear SPF 15 or higher.
2. SKIN CANCER
There are 3 main types of skin cancer. The two most common types are basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). These are less aggressive and rarely spread to other areas of the body, hardly ever being fatal. They are easily treated if diagnosed at an early stage. Malignant melanomas, the third type of skin cancer, manifest as an internal cancer. It is likely to metastasize to other areas of the body if not detected on an early stage and treated properly.
3. WHO IS AT GREATER RISK OF DEVELOPING SKIN CANCER?
Those who take no precautions in protecting the skin, as well as those who work, exercise and have recreational activities under prolonged sun exposure.
4. HOW CAN I PROTECT MY SKIN?
Prefer white clothing and accessories to colored ones, and if possible, wear long sleeves, hats and SPF. Take extra care with babies and young children. Teach children these healthy habits since childhood.
5. WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF SKIN CANCER?
Lesions on the skin that are not healed fully within 4 weeks, as well as lesions that grow, change color, bleed or that present pruritus.
6. HOW IS SKIN CANCER DIAGNOSED?
Your doctor will examine your abnormal skin condition. If suspicious of BCC or SCC, your doctor will remove a small sample of the affected area and have it examined by a pathologist, or will request that you see a specialist. If your doctor is suspicious of melanoma, you will need to consult a specialist.
7. HOW IS SKIN CANCER TREATED?
Treatment depends on the type and size of the cancer, as well as its location. Most BCCs and SCCs are easily treated by simple non-surgical procedures, although it can be an inpatient treatment. Melanomas must always be treated by a specialist and are generally surgically removed.