Dermatologist Blog - Stone Oak Dermatology

Posts for tag: Skin Cancer

By Linda Banta, MD
July 06, 2020
Category: Skin Care
Tags: Skin Cancer   Tanning  

tanning

During the much longed-for summer months, people work on their tans. While enjoying a richer skin tone now, tanners take huge risks for premature aging and skin cancer. 

Sun and artificial tanning

It's what we use to get those tans. But, did you know that when you tan, you actually burn the top layer (epidermis) of your skin and damage your DNA, too?

According to Live Science, DNA damage mutates normal skin cells into cancer cells. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the most common kinds of skin cancer. Malignant melanoma is the most deadly skin cancer as it easily metastasizes to major body organs. About one-third of melanoma cases in the US kill their sufferers annually, says The Skin Cancer Foundation.

Unfortunately, artificial tanning is just as dangerous as sitting in the sun. Intermittent sun exposure or occasional tanning in the sun or tanning beds are harmful, too. Damage to the skin is cumulative, and both kinds of ultraviolet radiation (there are UV-A and UV-B rays) breakdown your skin's DNA over time. Further, UV-B harms your skin's natural elasticity normally provided by a protein called collagen.

Don't tan: protect

To protect your skin, avoid sunburns, intentional tanning and excessive day to day sun exposure with these strategies from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD):

  1. Cover up any exposed skin (face, arms, legs, ears) with a broad-brimmed hat, long-sleeves and other sun-protective clothing.
  2. Use sunscreen lotion--SPF 30 or higher--on all exposed skin, and re-apply every two hours or whenever you sweat it off or swim.
  3. Stay indoors or in the shade from 10 am to 2 pm.

Also, all adults, particularly those 40 or older, should see a dermatologist for an annual skin exam. Do a careful self-exam once a month at home, looking for changes in the color, size, and shape of existing spots or moles. Report changes to your skin doctor as well as any sore which does not heal in a week or so.

It's your skin

Don't sacrifice its health for a little fashionable color. Tanning really is bad for you. Find healthy ways to enjoy the summer months and that wonderful sun. Your skin and your overall health will be better for your efforts.

By Linda Banta, MD
May 26, 2020
Category: Skin Care
Tags: Skin Cancer  

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

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.

Concerned?

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.

By Linda Banta, MD
April 29, 2020
Category: Skin Care
Tags: Skin Cancer  

Skin Cancer PreventionWith the warmer months just around the corner you may be getting ready to plan some fun in the sun. The summertime always finds children spending hours outside playing, as well as beach-filled family vacations, backyard barbeques, and more days just spent soaking up some much-needed vitamin D.

While it can certainly be great for our emotional and mental well-being to go outside, it’s also important that we are protecting our skin against the harmful effects of the sun’s rays. These are some habits to follow all year long to protect against skin cancer,

Wear Sunscreen Daily

Just because the sun isn’t shining doesn’t mean that your skin isn’t being exposed to the harmful UVA and UVB rays. The sun’s rays have the ability to penetrate through clouds. So it’s important that you generously apply sunscreen to the body and face about 30 minutes before going outside.

Opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 that also protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Everyone should use sunscreen, even infants. Just one sunburn during your lifetime can greatly increase your risk for developing skin cancer, so always remember to lather up!

Reapply Sunscreen Often

If you are planning to be outdoors for a few hours you’ll want to bring your sunscreen with you. After all, one application won’t be enough to protect you all day long. A good rule of the thumb to follow is, reapply sunscreen every two hours. Of course, you’ll also want to apply sunscreen even sooner if you’ve just spent time swimming or if you’ve been sweating a lot (e.g. running a race or playing outdoor sports).

Seek Shade During the Day

While feeling the warm rays of the sun on your shoulders can certainly feel nice, the sun’s rays are at their most powerful and most dangerous during the hours of 10am-4pm. If you plan to be outdoors during these times it’s best to seek shady spots. This means enjoying lunch outside while under a wide awning or sitting on the beach under an umbrella. Even these simple measures can reduce your risk for skin cancer.

See a Dermatologist

Regardless of whether you are fair skinned, have a family history of skin cancer or you don’t have any risk factors, it’s important that everyone visit their dermatologist at least once a year for a comprehensive skin cancer screening. This physical examination will allow our skin doctor to be able to examine every growth and mole from head to toe to look for any early signs of cancer. These screenings can help us catch skin cancer early on when it’s treatable.

Noticing changes in one of your moles? Need to schedule your next annual skin cancer screening? If so, a dermatologist will be able to provide you with the proper care you need to prevent, diagnose and treat both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.

By Linda Banta, MD
August 16, 2019
Category: Dermatology

Sun DamageToo much exposure to sunlight can be harmful to your skin. Dangerous ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet A (UVA) rays damage skin, which leads to premature wrinkles, skin cancer and other skin problems. People with excessive exposure to UV radiation are at greater risk for skin cancer than those who take careful precautions to protect their skin from the sun.

Sun Exposure Linked to Cancer

Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers, including melanoma. To limit your exposure to UV rays, follow these easy steps.

  • Avoid the mid-day sun, as the sun's rays are most intense during 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Remember that clouds do not block UV rays.
  • Use extra caution near water, snow and sand.
  • Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps which emit UVA and UVB rays.
  • Wear hats and protective clothing when possible to minimize your body's exposure to the sun.
  • Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 to your exposed skin. Re-apply every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and area around your eyes.

Risks Factors

Everyone's skin can be affected by UV rays. People with fair skin run a higher risk of sunburns. Aside from skin tone, factors that may increase your risk for sun damage and skin cancer include:

  • Previously treated for cancer
  • Family history of skin cancer
  • Several moles
  • Freckles
  • Typically burn before tanning
  • Blond, red or light brown hair

If you detect unusual moles, spots or changes in your skin, or if your skin easily bleeds, make an appointment with our practice. Changes in your skin may be a sign of skin cancer. With early detection from your dermatologist, skin cancers have a high cure rate and response to treatment. Additionally, if you want to reduce signs of aged skin, seek the advice of your dermatologist for a variety of skin-rejuvenating treatment options.

By Stone Oak Dermatology
January 08, 2018
Category: Skin Care
Tags: Skin Cancer  

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, about 5.4 million new cases of skin cancer are treated in the United States each year. This skin cancerstaggering number shows that taking preventative measures against this disease is more important than ever. Equally as important as preventing skin cancer, however, is knowing the early warning signs of skin cancer as catching this condition early greatly increases its curability rate. Find out more about the signs of skin cancer and what you should do if you notice them with Dr. Linda Banta at Stone Oak Dermatology in San Antonio, TX.

Do I have skin cancer? 
Skin cancer also appears on the skin as what looks like a mole. The mole will have certain features if it could be potentially cancerous. Remembering these qualities is easy with the ABCDE method. Potentially cancerous moles can have the following characteristics:

  • Asymmetrical
  • Border is jagged instead of smooth
  • Color of the mole varies instead of remaining one solid color throughout
  • Diameter of the mole is more than 6 millimeters
  • Evolving mole which changes shape, size, or color

How can I prevent skin cancer? 
Preventing skin cancer is as easy as limiting the skin’s exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays. Always wear a sunblock with at least 30 SPF on areas of the skin exposed to the sun. Try to stay out of the sun at times when it is strongest, usually around noon. Wear tight-knit clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun off of your face and neck. In addition to limiting your exposure to the sun, you can further prevent skin cancer with regular skin examinations with your dermatologist.

Skin Examinations in San Antonio, TX
A skin examination gives your dermatologist the chance to give your entire body the once-over, searching for any questionable moles or discolorations. Catching skin cancer early greatly increases the curability rate and allows your doctor to use less complicated and invasive procedures to remove the cancerous cells.

For more information on skin cancer or its early warning signs, please contact Dr. Banta at Stone Oak Dermatology in San Antonio, TX. Call (210) 494-0504 to schedule your appointment for a skin examination with Dr. Banta today!