Keep your skin safe
Who doesn’t love a beautiful summer day filled with outdoor activities, a swim in the pool and, of course, a nice tan? Tanned skin is a sign of a hot, sunny vacation or that glow after summer vacation. However, tanned skin means damaged skin, and over time damaged skin can inevitably lead to skin cancer.
Lawrence plastic surgery specialist Dr Scarlett Aldrich said sun protection is the easiest method of preventing skin cancer. She said that an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen should be worn daily.
“It’s a good idea to put it on daily because even brief outdoor exposures add up in the long run,” Dr Aldrich said. “If you’re outside for an extended period, remember to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours. You can also wear protective clothing, including long sleeves, hats, and sunglasses. Some clothes are specially designed to block UV rays while keeping you cool during the hot summer. Summer is not the only time to protect yourself, either. UVB rays are strongest in summer, but UVA rays are constant all year round. UVA rays can also penetrate windows and windshields. “
Another key to avoiding skin damage is to stay out of the sun during peak UV hours which are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and definitely avoid tanning beds!
“Genetics can also play a role in skin cancer. If you have a family history of melanoma, you are at a higher risk of developing it yourself, ”said Dr. Aldrich. “There are also family traits that can be passed to you that put you at a higher risk, including fair skin, freckles, blonde or red hair, and light colored eyes.”
Dr Scarlett Aldrich
Although skin cancer can be ruled out when it’s discovered early, Dr Aldrich said it can still be fatal, especially melanoma. Melanoma is the deadliest skin cancer and affects thousands of Americans each year.
“Melanoma can be cured if it is detected in the early stages,” she said. “Another rare, but potentially fatal, skin cancer is called Merkel cell carcinoma. It is usually a flesh-colored or purplish nodule on the skin. This is why it is important to watch and pay attention to your body and your skin. The earlier you seek treatment, the better your chances of withdrawal. “
You may be asking, then how will I know when to see a doctor? What should I check for my skin? Dr Aldrich said the ABCDEs of skin cancer are always good to know. ABCDEs stand for:
- A-Asymmetry (one half does not correspond to the other)
- B-Borders (irregular or uneven borders)
- C-Color (uneven pigmentation, a variety of colors including brown, beige or black)
- Diameter D (larger than a pencil eraser or 6 mm)
- E-Evolution (change in size, shape, color or symptoms such as itching, bleeding).
“If you have any new or worrying lesions, you should see your doctor immediately,” Dr. Aldrich said. “You know your body best, so trust your gut if something goes wrong. Always remember that you are NEVER too young to develop skin cancer. Although it is more common with age, skin cancer can certainly affect young people as well. How you protect your skin now will influence your likelihood of developing skin cancer later! Ultraviolet (UV) rays can actually damage the DNA in your cells. Your body will try to repair this damage, but with repeated insults it cannot keep up and the damaged cells can turn into cancer cells.
Dr Andrew Meyer, oncologist at LMH Health Cancer Center, echoed Dr Aldrich’s comments. He said skin cancer is ruthless no matter how old you are.
“Melanoma is actually quite common in young adults,” he said. “This can be due to exposure to UV rays, use of a tanning bed and intense exposure to the sun without protection. The two main types of skin cancer are melanoma and non-melanoma. Skin cancers other than melanoma are considered less aggressive and consist mainly of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. When caught early and removed surgically, the results of skin cancers other than melanoma are usually quite good. However, melanoma behaves more aggressively and must be detected early to achieve high cure rates. “
Dr Meyer said non-melanoma skin cancers can be found anywhere on your body, but often appear in areas exposed to the sun like the face, hands, arms, legs, leather. hairy and ears. Melanoma can appear on the soles of your feet, under your fingernails, and the palms of your hands.
“That’s why it’s important to keep a close eye on your skin and check for places that may seem strange or difficult to see, such as your hands and back,” said Dr Meyer. “If you have any concerns, don’t be afraid to contact your primary care provider. “
Dr Andrew Meyer
What if you think you have any of these types of skin cancer? Dr Meyer said the goal for all skin cancers is early detection and surgical removal. Most skin cancers are curable with this approach.
“Skin cancers can become more advanced if they go unnoticed,” said Dr. Meyer. “It gets more complicated if it spreads to the lymph nodes or other parts of the body. This may require more extensive surgery and potential post-surgical treatment such as radiation or immunotherapy. We offer all of these services at LMH Health. Thanks to our excellent multidisciplinary care teams and clinical expertise, skin cancers can be managed very successfully at LMH Health.
The LMH Health Cancer Center is a regional destination for progressive and integrated hematology and oncology care. Dr. Meyer and the entire Cancer Center team strive every day to provide the best possible care to their patients.
“The beauty of LMH Health Cancer Center is that we are able to partner with our patients and provide personalized cancer care close to where you live and play,” he said. “Our team has extensive experience in the treatment of various cancers, including skin cancers, and we have the most modern technology and facilities to provide exceptional care. “
Dr Aldrich said his number one rule when it comes to skin health and safety is to remember that our skin is our greatest protector of the outside world. You need to protect your skin so that it can protect you!
“The sun is not the enemy,” she said. “There are so many health benefits associated with sunlight. It fights depression, helps you sleep better, reduces stress, keeps your bones strong, and strengthens your immune system, among other things. Go out and enjoy the sun, do it safely! ”
LMH Santé cancer center
Did you know that the LMH Health Cancer Center is home to physicians trained in NCI-designated cancer centers, as well as multidisciplinary care teams and strong regional partnerships? Our goal is always to put our patients and their loved ones first when being treated for their diagnosis. LMH Health patients have access to outstanding clinical trials, genetic testing, comprehensive support programs, lifelong survival resources and a cancer prevention program.
LMH Health holds official accreditation from the Commission on Cancer (CoC). This accreditation is a testament to the quality of care that LMH Health provides to our cancer patients. We know that a cancer diagnosis is overwhelming and our providers are there to support you every step of the way. To learn more about the LMH Health Cancer Center, visit our website at www.lmh.org today.