Posts for tag: Skin Cancer
Protect your skin against cancer and spot early warning signs.
Skin cancer remains one of the most prevalent cancers in the US; however, one of the biggest causes of skin cancer is also completely preventable: Exposure to UV light (both natural and artificial) can impact your likelihood of developing skin cancer at some point during your lifetime. While seeing a dermatologist once a year for a skin cancer screening is important, here are some tips that you can start following now to reduce your risk for skin cancer,
Apply Sunscreen Every Day
If you’re going to spend any time out in the sun you need to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Opt for a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 and make sure to apply a generous amount (about 1 ounce of sunscreen for the entire body) at least 15 minutes before going outside.
Reapply Sunscreen Throughout the Day
If you’re going to go outside, the best bet is to always apply sunscreen, even if you’re just going for a drive (the sun’s rays can still reach your skin through car windows and the sunroof). Yes, the sun’s rays can even damage your skin on rainy, cloudy and snowy days! If you’re spending a considerable amount of time outdoors (e.g. playing sports or enjoying the beach) you will want to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, or immediately after getting out of the water. The same rule applies if you’re sweating. You can never reapply too often!
Know the Best Times to Go Outside
The sun’s rays are most potent between the hours of 10 am-3 pm. This means that you are more likely to get sunburned during these hours (it can take less than 15 minutes to get sunburned). So, if you spend hours outside you can only imagine just how bad this can be on your skin. Limit time in the sun during these hours, or at the very least use an umbrella or seek the shade if you must be outside.
Recognize the Early Warning Signs of Skin Cancer
The only way to catch skin cancer early when it’s treatable is by performing self-exams on your body at least once a month. Make sure that you are checking every area of your body, from your scalp to between your toes. After all, while skin cancer most often develops in areas exposed to the sun, this isn’t always the case.
When examining growths and moles you should look for changes in,
Healthy moles stay relatively the same over time, so if you notice any changes that have you concerned then it’s time to schedule a skin cancer evaluation with a dermatologist.
With summer just around the corner, it’s important that you protect your skin from cancer and sun-related damage. If you’ve never gotten a skin cancer screening, it’s a simple, painless checkup performed by a dermatologist, and it shouldn’t be missed.
How your dermatologists in Honolulu, HI, can help if you have skin cancer
Do you take a good look at your skin on a regular basis? Most people don’t but doing a self-check of your skin is a great way to prevent skin cancer. A quick check of your moles can do a lot to identify suspicious areas early. Your dermatologist can help.
The dermatologists at Dawson Dermatology offer a wide range of cosmetic and medical dermatology services, including diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer. They have two convenient office locations in Honolulu, HI, to help you. Talk to Drs. Erin Fuller, Kevin Dawson, Douglas Chun, and Sarah Grekin today.
When you check your skin, you should look out for these signs and symptoms of skin cancer:
- Moles that have poorly defined, ragged borders
- Moles with an asymmetrical shape
- Moles with a diameter of 6 millimeters or greater
- Moles that have grown back after the previous removal
- Moles that ooze or bleed
- Itchy, scaly patches of skin
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms while doing a self-check of your skin, make an appointment with your dermatologist as soon as you can. Don’t delay, because early diagnosis and early treatment of skin cancer are critical to a good outcome.
In addition to doing regular self-checks of your skin, there are some other important steps to follow to prevent skin cancer. Remember to:
- Avoid using tanning booths
- Use an SPF of at least 15 every day
- Use an SPF of at least 30 if you spend a lot of time outside
- Avoid being in direct sunlight between 10 AM to 4 PM, because UV rays are the most damaging at these times
- Wear protective clothing, a hat, and sunglasses
A skin cancer diagnosis can be scary, but there are several effective treatments for skin cancer, including:
Cryosurgery; the lesion is frozen using liquid nitrogen
Curettage and desiccation; the lesion is scraped and electric current is applied, which kills cancerous cells
Surgical excision; the lesion is completely cut out
Mohs micrographic surgery; the lesion is removed in layers and each layer is examined under a microscope
Radiation therapy; radiation is used to kill cancerous cells
Chemotherapy; used in combination with surgery and radiation to treat malignant melanoma
Your dermatologist can help if you have skin cancer, but you must take action. To learn more about the signs, symptoms, and treatment of skin cancer, talk with the experts. Call Drs. Erin Fuller, Kevin Dawson, Douglas Chun, and Sarah Grekin at Dawson Dermatology in Honolulu, HI, at (808) 599-3780. Call today!
Here are some ways to protect yourself against skin cancer.
Skin cancer can happen to anyone. While you may assume that it only happens to sunbathers or tanning-bed enthusiasts, the fact is, is that even just being in the sun’s rays for a bit every day can still make you prone to skin cancer. Of course, along with early detection from our Honolulu, HI, dermatologists Dr. Kevin Dawson, Dr. Douglas Chun, Dr. Erin Fuller, and Dr. Sarah Grekin, there are steps you can take right this moment to help protect your skin.
How do you prevent skin cancer?
While you may not be able to 100-percent protect yourself against skin cancer, you can greatly reduce your risk by:
Be honest with yourself: when was the last time you applied sunscreen? If you’re like most Americans, then you probably don’t. Only about 11 percent of Americans wear sunscreen daily and about 46 percent never wear sunscreen. Skin cancer can happen to anyone so you must be protecting your face and body by applying sunscreen every day (about 30 minutes before going outside). Also, remember to reapply every two hours.
Avoiding the Hottest Hours of the Day
If you want to go on your morning run or enjoy some time outdoors (after all, it is important to soak up some vitamin D) you may want to consider doing it before 10 am or after 4 pm, as that 10 am-4 pm window is when the Hawaiian sun’s rays are at their most powerful, which can also increase your risk for sun damage.
Seeking Shade and Wearing the Right Clothes
If you do have to go outdoors, especially during the sun’s peak hours of 10 am-4 pm, you must seek shade whenever possible. You should also wear clothes that cover your skin and are made from light colors and tightly woven fabrics. Remember that the sun’s rays can penetrate through transparent or knitted clothes.
Knowing How to Shop for Sunscreen
Most people don’t even know if they have a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which is important since it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Look for a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Getting Regular Skin Cancer Screenings
Even if you don’t think you’re at risk for skin cancer, it’s still important to visit our dermatologists here at our Honolulu, HI, practice once a year for a skin cancer screening. We can often catch subtle changes in the color, size, shape, or look of a mole to detect cancer early when it’s often treatable.
Do you need to schedule a skin cancer screening with our Honolulu, HI, dermatologists? Concerned about a new or changing mole? If so, call Dawson Dermatology today at (808) 599-3780 to book an appointment with Dr. Kevin Dawson, Dr. Douglas Chun, Dr. Erin Fuller, or Dr. Sarah Grekin.
What should I expect from a skin cancer screening?
There is nothing uncomfortable, painful, or invasive about a skin cancer screening. This can be a relief to know and may even make someone more likely to come in for the screening they need. A skin cancer screening involves a simple, non-invasive visual examination that is performed by a qualified dermatologist. Your skin doctor will examine all growths, moles, and birthmarks to check for any changes in shape, color, size, or texture that could be warning signs of cancer.
Just as with any health screening, a skin cancer screening can help your dermatologist detect skin cancer during the very early stages when it’s highly treatable. If your dermatologist does detect a suspicious growth, they may recommend a biopsy. A biopsy simply means that your dermatologist will remove a small amount of tissue from the area to test for cancer cells.
Who should get a skin cancer screening?
Everyone can benefit from a skin cancer screening; however, certain risk factors can increase your odds of developing skin cancer over your lifetime. It’s important to know your risk level so you can talk with your dermatologist about how often you should come in for screenings. Those at increased risk may need to come in more than once a year. These risk factors include,
- Being fair-skinned
- Having blonde or red hair
- Light eyes
- Skin that burns or freckles easily
- A history of sunburns
- Family history of skin cancer
- Extensive sun exposure (e.g. working outdoors)
Not all organs are internal. The skin is the largest and contains three layers: the epidermis (outer), dermis (middle), and hypodermis (deepest). When cancer cells affect any of these areas, the situation can potentially be life-threatening. Several factors can raise an individual's risk of developing skin cancer. But the condition is preventable. Minimizing your exposure begins with a visit to the dermatologist. At Dawson Dermatology, you can expect a quick and efficient head-to-toe examination from Dr. Kevin L. Dawson, Dr. Douglas Chun, or Dr. Sarah J. Grekin performed in our Honolulu, HI, office to review family medical history and look for suspicious moles that may need additional testing.
Tips to Prevent Skin Cancer
Skin cancer prevention starts with protection. UV rays that emit from the sun, as well as tanning beds, are harmful, so it's best to avoid both whenever possible. When you're outside, be sure to apply 30-SPF sunscreen and lip balm year-round, wear additional clothing like a brimmed hat and stay in the shade - especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when rays are the strongest. It also helps to wear sunglasses, avoid reflective surfaces, and choose cosmetic products that offer sun protection.
Signs and Symptoms to Observe
Different types of skin cancer have distinct traits. We encourage you to visit our Honolulu, HI, office at the first sign of something unusual. If you're unsure of what to look for when performing a physical exam at-home, our dermatologist can teach you how to spot skin damage. At Dawson Dermatology, we always remind our patients to remember their "ABCDE's." This acronym stands for asymmetrical, border, colorful, diameter, and evolving. When a mole or freckle doesn't look like the rest, has an irregular border, color changes, or becomes bigger than a pencil eraser, it may be cause for concern and require extra attention.
If you observe new moles, lesions, or freckles with an "ugly duckling" appearance, or find yourself itching or bleeding, schedule a consultation with our dermatologist. We have a team of board-certified professionals who are dedicated to catching signs and symptoms early when they are most treatable. For more information about skin cancer, other conditions we treat, and services provided at Dawson Dermatology, visit our website. Please call (808) 599-3780 for appointment scheduling with Dr. Kevin L. Dawson, Dr. Douglas Chun, or Dr. Sarah J. Grekin in our Honolulu, HI, office.