Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and it is also one of the most preventable and most treatable types of cancer. In fact, it is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some time in their lives, as more than 3 million cases are diagnosed each year.
The good news is that the two most prevalent forms of the disease, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma, have extremely high cure rates if they are detected and treated early. If they are found and removed before the cancer cells spread to other areas of the body, these cancers have a higher than 99% chance of survival.
Let’s talk about some interesting – and potentially life-saving – facts about skin cancer you may not be aware of, and where you can go here in Miami to receive world-class dermatology care for a lifetime of healthy skin.
Lesser-Known Facts About Skin Cancer
- You can develop skin cancer in an area of your body that is NOT exposed to sunlight. It is often assumed that skin cancer is the direct result of overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, like burning a piece of toast. However, your inherited genes can also play a major role in whether you eventually develop skin cancer, because different people have different levels of susceptibility to the condition – and it isn’t necessarily related to skin tone. Other causes of skin cancer include repeated exposure to medical or industrial X-rays, scarring from prior diseases or burns, and occupational exposure to certain chemical compounds. Also, immunosuppressed patients, such as organ transplant recipients or patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), are at greatly increased risk of skin cancer since their immune systems are not as capable of guarding against cancerous cells.
- Skin cancer may not look like anything out of the ordinary. Most often, skin cancer starts with a minor change to the surface of your skin. This could be a small, dark mole or a tiny reddish patch on the skin which you might dismiss as simply a rash. If you develop any unusual or irregular mole in adulthood, regardless of its size or color, it is important to have it checked out by your dermatologist as soon as possible.
- You can develop skin cancer in your eye. This is called ocular melanoma or eye melanoma, and it may occur in any area of your eye that you are unable to see when you look in a mirror. Nevertheless, be aware of such symptoms as a change in the shape of the pupil, poor vision in just one eye, or floaters in your line of vision – and bring it to the attention of your doctor.
- There is no such thing as a “safe” or “healthy” tan. Medical research has proven that there is no health benefit to a base tan. Whether you get a golden suntan via natural sunlight or via artificial light in a tanning bed, you are still creating skin damage that can lead to skin cancer years later.
- Sunscreens with high SPF provide greater protection. It may sound like a no-brainer, but statistically, sunscreens that come with higher SPF (sun protection factor) ratings are better at shielding your skin from harmful UV rays than those with lower SPF ratings. However, you should try to use sunscreens that protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Active ingredients that are known to block UV rays include titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone, oxybenzone, Helioplex, and Mexoryl Sx.
Skin Cancer Screening in Miami, Florida
If you notice a suspicious change on your skin or in a mole, or if you would like to have a dermatology checkup, do not hesitate to schedule a skin cancer screening with Dr. T.J. Giuffrida here at the Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center. Dr. Giuffrida is a board-certified dermatologist, and he is one of the few skin specialists in South Florida who is fellowship-trained in Mohs micrographic surgery. As a skin cancer expert, Dr. Giuffrida can evaluate your skin, give you appropriate advice per your skin type, and help determine the most effective method of treatment specifically for you.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Giuffrida, call us today at (305) 461-2000 or use our convenient online Request an Appointment form now. We look forward to being your skin care partner!