Posts for: November, 2017
The Skin Cancer Foundation says that one in five people in the US will develop skin cancer. That's a whopping 20 percent, a statistic well-worth our attention. At South County Dermatology in East Greenwich, RI, your board-certified dermatologists, Dr. Robert Dyer and Dr. Vincent Criscione, want you aware of the kinds of skin cancers, how they are treated in East Greenwich and ways to prevent them.
Kinds of skin cancer
There are three types: basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma. All three affect the outer layer of the skin called the epidermis, with basal cell located most deeply around sweat glands and hair follicles. Melanoma is best known for its virulence and high morbidity and mortality rates. All kinds are linked to sun exposure.
What skin cancer looks like
Basal cell, squamous cell, and melanoma look different. Common to all, however, is location: they can appear virtually anywhere on the body. Of course, those areas most exposed to the sun grow cancer more easily.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends patients look at their skin frequently, using a mirror to visualize the back and other hidden areas or have your spouse help you examine your skin. Know your skin well, and if it changes, the difference will be obvious. Use the following ABCDEs of skin examination:
Asymmetry A mole or other blemish should stay the same top to bottom and side to side. Growth in a new direction may indicate malignancy.
Borders should be smooth--not scalloped or rough.
Color Most benign moles are one color--brown typically, although others may be OK. Watch for color variations throughout the mole as changes may indicate cancer.
Diameter Anything larger than a pencil eraser should be examined by your dermatologist.
Evolution Change is dangerous. If color, texture, shape or anything about your mole looks different, call South County Dermatology for an appointment.
Treatment of skin cancer in East Greenwich
Many skin cancers can be biopsied and treated in-office. If Dr. Dyer or Dr. Criscione suspects a cancerous lesion, he will formulate a treatment plan right for you.
Treatments vary and may be used in combination. They include:
- Surgical excision
- Topical creams
- Cryosurgery (freezing)
- Curettage and desiccation (scraping and use of heat)
Preventing skin cancer
The Skin Cancer Foundation says that the incidence of malignant melanoma in young women has skyrocketed because of tanning and excessive sun exposure during the summer months. So, again, watch how much sun (UV rays) you get, and follow these guidelines:
- Apply sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher), and reapply after swimming or sweating excessively.
- Stay in the shade between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm.
- Wear broad-brimmed hats, long sleeves, and sunglasses.
- See your skin doctor yearly for a skin exam or anytime you are concerned about your skin.
Find out more
The staff at South County Dermatology in East Greenwich, RI loves to teach patients about keeping skin healthy. Call today for your routine appointment: (401) 471-3376.
If you have fair skin, you are often told to stay out of the sun, or to at least wear sunscreen with the highest SPF. Fair skin ranges from being extremely dry to very greasy, but the most common denominator is a susceptibility to irritation, sensitivity and damage caused by UV exposure.
- Choose a good cleanser that is gentle and won’t dry out your skin.
- Use a good moisturizer that replenishes the skin without clogging pores.
- Protect your skin from the elements.
- Schedule routine skin checks with your dermatologist
In the summer—or any season for that matter—protecting your kids from the sun’s harmful rays is a must. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, it is estimated that 80% of lifetime sun exposure occurs during childhood—that one blistering sunburn can double the risk of getting melanoma later in life. Protect your children now so that you can protect them for a lifetime from skin cancer and other skin conditions.
The American Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy of Pediatrics offer five important steps to sun safety for children. By following these tips, you can continue to protect your children from the harmful effects of the sun:
- Limit outdoor activity between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is when the sun’s rays are the strongest. Even when it is cloudy or cool out, the ultraviolet (UV) rays continue to remain strong. Shady areas can even be tricky because of reflected light.
- Apply sunscreen properly. Thirty minutes prior to your child going out in the sun, it is important to apply sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 15 or higher. Scented or colorful sunscreens might appeal to some kids and can even make it easier to see which areas have been covered properly. When applying sunscreen, don’t forget the nose, ears, hands, feet, shoulders and behind the neck.
- Cover up. Wearing protective clothing is also an excellent choice in protecting your children from the sun’s harmful rays. When wet, light-colored clothing transmits just as much sunlight as bare skin, so keep your kids covered in dark colors, long sleeves and pants whenever possible. Also, don’t forget the sunglasses and hats for added protection.
- Understand your child’s medications. Some medications can increase your child’s skin sensitivity to the sun, so make sure to ask your doctor whether your child is at risk or not. The most notorious culprits of this sensitivity tend to be prescription antibiotics and acne medications.
- Set a good example. Remember, your children will often mirror your actions so make sure you follow these sun safety rules as well. Skin protection is not only important for children, but it is vital for every member of the family—regardless of age. Team up with your children and stay protected when life brings you outside to bask in the sunshine.
Contact your dermatologist for more information on how you can successfully protect your children from the sun’s harmful rays. While it is not required to avoid the sun altogether, your dermatologist does urge you to take every precaution possible to protect your child for a lifetime.