Skin Cancer — May 1st marks the start of Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Dr. Beata Rydzik, a board certified dermatologist in Portland, OR, recently spoke on the importance of prevention and early detection of skin cancer.
“Approximately one in five Americans will be treated for skin cancer in their lifetime,” reports Dr. Rydzik. “13 million Americans are living with a history of non-melanoma skin cancer, and about 800,000 Americans are living with a history of melanoma, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer. These numbers are staggering. That is why it is imperative that we all become aware of the dangers of skin cancer and together focus on prevention.”
When discussing the different types of skin cancers, Dr. Rydzik had this to say: “Skin cancer can generally be broken down into two categories: melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers. Melanoma accounts for less than 5% of skin cancer cases, but it represents the deadliest form of the disease. While non-melanoma skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma tend to be less fatal, they still present a serious medical concern.”
“As summer draws near, it is important for us to be reminded of the ways in which we can avoid skin cancer. While there are a number of risk factors involved in skin cancer, exposure to ultraviolet radiation is the chief offender,” stated Dr. Rydzik.
Dr. Rydzik also offered the following skin cancer prevention tips: “Avoid sun between the hours of 10AM to 4PM and seek shade. Our risk of melanoma almost doubles after 5 or more sunburns. Avoid tanning beds. Apply a generous amount of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above to areas not covered by clothing. Reapply immediately after swimming or perspiration or every 2 hours, whichever comes first. You can also cover up with loose-fitting clothing. Be sure to wear a large brim hat as many of us forget about our ears and scalp.” Dr. Rydzik also added: “Perform monthly self skin exams. Knowing your own skin is crucial to discovering skin cancer early. Be sure to see a dermatologist for a skin check if you notice a growth, mole or spot on your skin that is growing, changing or bleeding.”
Commenting on the importance of this month-long effort, Dr. Rydzik finished with this: “While skin cancer is certainly a serious medical condition, it is almost always treatable when caught early. We encourage patients to take a hands-on role in their skin health not only during the month of May but all year long.” Dr. Rydzik concluded with this remark: “Be good to your skin. It’s been holding you together for all these years. If you have concerns or questions do not hesitate to schedule a skin exam.”