Preventing Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is reported to be the most common type of cancer affecting Americans. In fact, one out of every five adults is expected to develop skin cancer at some point in their lives. Protecting the skin whenever you are outdoors is important for preventing skin cancer. Annual skin cancer screenings with a dermatologist are important for detecting skin cancer early. At Applegarth Dermatology, Dr. William Applegarth is your dermatologist in Valparaiso and La Porte, IN, for skin cancer screenings and treatment.
Types of Skin Cancer
There are several types of skin cancer, but the two most common are squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. The deadliest type of skin cancer is Melanoma, but it is also the least common. The risk of developing any of these types of skin cancer increases in people who have sustained sunburns or extensive exposure to the sun. Using tanning beds regularly also increases a person’s risk of developing skin cancer.
Signs of Skin Cancer
Changes in the appearance of the skin can be an indication of possible skin cancer. There are also several specific symptoms. If you observe any of the common symptoms on your skin, see a dermatologist in Valparaiso and La Porte for a skin cancer screening. Signs of skin cancer can include:
- Speckled brown spots on the skin
- Changes in the appearance of existing moles
- Itching or sudden bleeding of existing moles
- Patches of red or pink scaly lesions
- Waxy and translucent cone-shaped growths
- Black or brown streaks under the toenails or fingernails
- Unexplained sores that continue re-opening after healing
Skin Cancer Prevention
There are several steps you can take to prevent skin cancer, including:
- Wearing sunscreen when outdoors, even on cloudy days
- Wearing a hat and sunglasses or other protective items when outside
- Wearing long sleeves and long pants when outdoors
- Avoiding sunbathing and the use of tanning beds
- Conducting regular self-exams that include looking for changes in moles
- Visiting a dermatologist for annual skin cancer screenings
The best way to prevent skin cancer is to protect your skin from the harmful effects of the sun. If skin cancer does develop, early detection is important so treatment can begin before the cancer progresses. For skin cancer screenings and treatment, schedule an appointment with Dr. Applegarth by calling Applegarth Dermatology at (219) 548-0360 for Valparaiso or at (219) 362-0161 for the La Porte dermatology office.