Posts for tag: Skin Cancer
Arm yourself with the best habits for healthy, cancer-free skin.
With the warm summer months fast approaching, some people’s minds turn to the beach while others consider ways to protect their skin from the effects of the sun. Anyone can develop skin cancer, and the sooner you create a skin cancer prevention regimen the better. Our East Greenwich, Narragansett, Westerly, and Barrington, RI, dermatologists, Dr. Robert Dyer and Dr. Vincent Criscione, are here to provide tips for preventing skin cancer, as well as warning signs to look out for.
How to Prevent Skin Cancer
There are a myriad of things you can do to prevent skin cancer. The number one rule is to always wear sunscreen before going outside. Make sure to lather on a generous amount of sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays while also offering an SPF of 15 or higher.
Here are some other tips to follow to keep skin healthy and cancer-free:
- Apply sunscreen all over your body and face about 30 minutes before going outside
- Make sure to reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours (or immediately after getting out of the water or sweating)
- Avoid being in the sun (stay in the shade) between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM
- Visit your dermatologist once a year for a thorough physical exam
- Make sure to perform monthly skin exams
- Stay away from the tanning bed
- Wear protective clothing, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat
Early Warning Signs of Skin Cancer
Not sure what you’re supposed to be looking for when it comes to performing a skin exam? Check all moles, growths, and markings on your body and follow your ABCDEs to figure out whether the growth might require further evaluation from our East Greenwich, Narragansett, Westerly, and Barrington skin doctors. Here are some things to look for:
- Asymmetry: If you were to draw an invisible line down a healthy mole both sides should look identical. An abnormal growth or mole will not look the same on both sides.
- Border: Suspicious growths will have uneven or poorly defined borders.
- Color: Healthy moles should only be one color, while cancerous growths may contain multiple colors of brown, black, blue, white, or pink.
- Diameter: While melanoma can be small, most often than not, they appear larger than the size of a pencil eraser.
- Evolving: A healthy mole will look the same over the years, but melanoma will often change in shape, size, or color
It’s a good idea to come in once a year to visit our skin specialists in East Greenwich, Narragansett, Westerly, and Barrington, RI, for a skin cancer evaluation. No matter if you have risk factors or not, these checkups could just end up saving your life. Schedule an appointment with one of our dermatologists at South County Dermatology today.
Your skin is your armor—it protects you against injury and infection. Typically, people tend to concentrate on caring for their face because it is what is most noticeable to others. However, it is important to care for skin below the neck as well. Proper skin care varies by body part, as some areas have thinner, more sensitive skin than others. Your dermatologist in provides you with the information you need to properly care for your skin.
While shopping for skin care products at the pharmacy or beauty store, it may be difficult to decide what products to use on your skin. Your dermatologist offers you helpful tips in caring for the skin on each part of your body, including your:
- Face – The best way to prevent dry skin on your face is to moisturize.
- Lips – Since your lips retain less moisture than other parts of your body, they tend to dry out more quickly, which means it is important to maintain moisture by using balm several times a day.
- Hands – Your hands bare the brunt of the seasons more than any other part of your body. It is important to pay attention to your hands by applying moisturizer—especially during the flu season when we tend to wash our hands more vigorously than normal.
- Feet – Use a thick moisturizer daily on your feet to maintain moisture and keep your feet softer.
- Scalp – In order to keep your scalp from drying, wash your hair once a day with a mild shampoo and do not use water that is too hot.
- Body – Try washing your body with a moisturizing cleanser. If you have sensitive skin look for skin care products that cater to your individual skin needs.
Visit your dermatologist today, for more information on how to properly care for your skin year round. Whether your skin is normal, oily or sensitive, there is a skin care treatment just for you.
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.
Is the sun your friend, or not? Is time your friend, or not? The answers to these questions may go either way when we talk about skin cancer. Cancer Research UK says that too much sun damages the DNA in your skin, giving a clear path for cancer to grow, particularly deadly melanoma. Age increases your risk, too. That's why the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends monthly self-exams and yearly evaluations by a board-certified skin doctor. Dr. Robert Dyer and Dr. Vincent Criscione of South County Dermatology in East Greenwich, RI agree that routine skin cancer screenings are very important.
Is skin cancer really deadly?
Yes, it can be if not caught and cured in its earliest stages. In fact, the American Cancer Society says that about 68,000 new cases of malignant melanoma, which goes deep into the skin and travels to the lymph nodes and other body organs, are diagnosed annually in the United States. Of these occurrences, about 12 percent will prove fatal. Unfortunately, melanoma is the number one cancer among young adults ages 25 to 29.
Kinds of skin cancer
Besides malignant melanoma, there is:
- Basal cell carcinoma, easily cured when detected early. It affects the deeper parts of the epidermis, the topmost layer of the skin.
- Squamous cell carcinoma, which grows in the topmost part of the epidermis.
What can you do?
Know your risk. If you are over 50, your chances of getting skin cancer increase simply because of the aging process. Also, if you are out in the sun a lot, do what you can to cover up (long-sleeves and pants, sunglasses and a hat) if you are working outside. Use sun screen (SPF 30 or higher, and reapply it if swimming or sweating). Stay indoors or in the shade out of the summer sun between 10 am and 2 pm.
Additionally, be aware of what your skin is doing. Watch for pink or red scales, changes in long-standing moles, and large brown spots that appear anywhere on your body, including under your nails. The American Academy of Dermatology asks you to think about these worrisome characteristics of skin lesions that may be cancerous:
Asymmetry - One side of the spot is shaped or colored differently than the other.
Border - The edges of a mole used to be smooth but now are notched or scalloped.
Color - It is uneven through out the spot.
Diameter - The spot grows to 6 mm or larger.
Evolving - The lesion changes in color, size or configuration or has become distinctly different from others you have.
Finally, get a routine skin check at South County Dermatology annually beginning at age 40. It's a simple way to be assured that the largest organ of your body--your skin--is cancer-free and healthy.
Come to South County Dermatology in East Greenwich
Contact the office today for an appointment with Dr. Dyer or Dr. Criscione. We have 4 offices (Narragansett, East Greenwich, Westerly and Barrington) to serve you. Call (401) 471-3376.
Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. More that two million people in the U.S. are afflicted by skin cancer each year, and that number is only rising. Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer, accounting for approximately 75 percent of skin cancer deaths.
Skin cancer can be deadly, but it is also very curable when detected early. Along with proper prevention and sun protection, you should examine your body regularly to check for any suspicious spots or changes as they develop.
When You Spot It You Can Stop It
Early detection of skin cancer can save your life. Self-examine your skin regularly, at least once a month, to look for unusual skin changes. Visiting your dermatologist routinely is also helpful, as they can do a full-body exam to make sure existing spots are normal. Regular self-exams should become a habit. It only takes a few minutes, and this small investment could save your life.
Warning Signs: What to Look For
By regularly examining your body, you can detect skin cancer in its earliest stages. Notify your dermatologist immediately if you identify any of the following symptoms:
- A skin growth that appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black or multicolored
- A mole, birthmark or any spot that: changes color, increases in size or thickness, changes in texture or is irregular in outline
- A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, scab, crust or bleed
- An open sore that does not heal within a few weeks
- A change in sensation, such as itchiness, tenderness or pain
A suspicious spot may be nothing, but its better to be safe than sorry. Always consult your dermatologist or physician if you notice any changes in your skin that seem abnormal.
ABCD’s of Skin Cancer Detection
As a good reminder, follow the ABCD rule as a guide for detecting skin cancer. Any of the below symptoms warrant a call to your dermatologist.
- Asymmetry: One half of a mole or spot doesn’t match the other half.
- Border: The edges of a mole are irregular or blurred.
- Color: The mole’s color or pigmentation is not uniform and/or has shades of brown, black, white, red or blue.
- Diameter: The spot or mole is larger than ¼ inch or 6 mm, approximately the size of a pencil eraser.
Skin cancer can be life-threatening, but it is also very preventable and treatable. Start taking care of your skin now by recognizing the early signs of skin cancer and protecting your skin from the sun.