Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States—so common, in fact, that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lifetime. All ages are affected. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in young adults and it affects nearly 50 percent of Americans aged over 65.
Ultraviolet (U.V.) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. While a small amount of sun exposure is good for us, prolonged and accumulative sun exposure damages the skin. Heredity also plays a significant role. A person who is closely related to someone with skin cancer is at greater risk of developing the disease themself. Other significant risk factors include having skin that freckles or burns easily, fair hair, blue or green eyes, and exposure to sunburn. In fact, if you’ve had five or more sunburns in your lifetime, your risk of skin cancer doubles.
The prevalence of atypical moles (known as dysplastic nevi) can also contribute to skin cancer risk. Whereas normal moles are round or oval in shape with a well-defined edge, atypical moles have a hazy or irregular border and splotchy coloring. People who have atypical moles are at increased risk of developing melanoma and are advised to check their skin regularly.
Here’s the good news! Skin cancer is easy to cure when it’s detected early. Even melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is 99 percent curable if identified in its earliest stages. In addition to checking your own skin regularly, we recommend that our patients undergo an annual full body examination with one of our board-certified dermatologists.
But, remember, prevention is always better than a cure. Your everyday regimen should include sunscreen and sunglasses and your outdoor wardrobe should always include a hat and a shirt—preferably worn in the shade!
If you are interested in learning more about skin cancer treatments, skin cancer surgery, medical dermatology or cosmetic dermatology in the Rock Hill, South Carolina, and Charlotte, North Carolina metro area, click here to request an appointment with Dr. Timothy Woodall, Dr. Richard White, or Ms. Kristin Berka. Or you can call our office, The Palmetto Skin & Laser Center, at (803) 329-6030 to schedule your appointment.