In the United States, more than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. It is currently the most common cause of cancer in the country, and it is often caused by overexposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun. However, there are precautions that you can take to prevent skin cancer, and seeing a dermatologist like Dr. Linda Banta of Stone Oak Dermatology in San Antonio, TX, can help with early detection—read on to learn more.
Skin cancer involves the abnormal growth of skin cells. Such rapid growth leads to the development of tumors, which may be benign or malignant. There are three main types of skin cancer: melanoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma. 95% of all cancers are made up of the latter two types, which are less serious than melanoma. They can also be treated relatively easily. Melanoma, on the other hand, is much more serious and is responsible for 75% of all skin cancer fatalities. Although the number one cause of skin cancer is ultraviolet rays from the sun, UV rays from tanning beds can be just as harmful.
Protecting Yourself in the Sun
When you are choosing a sunscreen, you should take into consideration its SPF (Sunburn Protection Factor). This gives you an indication of how good it is at protecting your skin from ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. You should also choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVB and UVA.
San Antonio residents can further reduce their sun exposure by wearing protective clothing, including shirts that cover your arms, clothing made from protective fabric, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses with UV protection.
Skin Cancer Early Detection
Having regular checks for skin cancer is the best way to spot it early on when it is easier to treat. A dermatologist can examine your skin for the early signs of cancer. As well as receiving an annual dermatological check-up, you can also look for signs of skin cancer at home with a self-exam. You should look for moles/birthmarks that have changed over time or are uneven in shape or color. If you notice anything unusual, contact your dermatologist straight away.
If you are looking for a dermatologist in San Antonio or you would like to find out more about skin cancer prevention and early detection, call Dr. Banta at (210) 494-0504.