Killer from the Surface; Get Screened for Skin Cancer

  • By Premier Family Medical
  • 03 May, 2017
Sunblock helps protect against skin cancer

Nobody wants to hear that they’ve got the dreaded C — cancer. Among the deadliest and most feared types are lung, breast, prostate and pancreatic cancer, not to mention Leukemia. Skin cancer isn’t as infamous as these. However, it can be just as serious.

That raises two questions. What can you do to make sure that you don’t develop skin cancer? Also, what steps should you take if you suspect that you might have it? The answers to these questions could very well save your life.

Forms of Skin Cancer

The three most common forms of skin cancer are  basal cell carcinoma  (BCC),  squamous cell carcinoma  (SCC) and melanoma. BCC affects the basal cells, which are responsible for replacing old skin cells with new.

SCC, on the other hand, affects the squamous cells that form the outer layer of the skin. These two forms are the most common and are often caused by prolonged exposure to the sun without adequate protection.

Then, there’s melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer. This form occurs when the pigment-producing cells in the body become cancerous. While this form is generally the most dangerous, it’s good to note that basal and squamous cell can also be deadly if left untreated.

How to Spot Skin Cancers

The best way to prevent a close call with skin cancer is to know what warning signs to look for. After all, you’ll want to receive appropriate treatment if needed and ASAP.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

  • Open sores that bleed or ooze and never heal permanently
  • A reddish patch on skin that’s crusty, itchy or painful
  • A shiny bump or nodule that’s pink, red, black or brown. (It could be confused with a mole at times.)
  • A pink growth with elevated edges and a crusty crater-like center
  • A white or yellow scar-like area with skin that appears shiny and taut

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

- Long-lasting scaly red patch with irregular borders. At times, it may crust or bleed.

- A growth with elevated borders and a central depression that grows in size and sometimes bleeds

- An open sore that bleeds and crusts for weeks at a time

- A wart that crusts and bleeds

Melanoma (using the ABCDE method of detection):

  • (A)symmetry: A mole that is not symmetrical on all sides may be an indicator of melanoma
  • (B)order: Benign moles will have smooth, even and defined borders. Melanomas have uneven borders and are sometimes even notched.
  • (C)olor: Melanomas often have a variety of different colors and shades.
  • (D)iameter: Benign moles usually have a smaller diameter than the eraser on a pencil tip. Malignant moles or melanomas are generally larger in diameter.  
  • (E)volving: A change in size, color, elevation, shape or any other feature is a cause for concern.
Regular self-exams will help you to identify any warning signs as early as possible.

Are You at Risk?

Research has shown that  certain groups of people have a higher risk . If you fit into one or more of these categories, you may want to take extra precautions and be more attentive to your skin. Risk factors include:

  • Family or personal history of skin cancer
  • Lighter natural skin color
  • Frequent or prolonged exposure to the sun
  • History of sunburns, especially in early life
  • History of indoor tanning
  • Sensitive skin
  • Blue or green eyes
  • Blond or red hair
  • Having a large number or certain type of moles

Get a Screening!

Especially if you have a higher risk or are suspicious of an area of your skin, you should seek a check up right away. Screenings don’t take long at all and can be lifesavers. The earlier skin cancers are detected, the better the outcome.

Why not get a check up by a doctor just to be sure that you’re in the clear? All of the doctors at Premier Family Medical are qualified to spot skin cancers and we also have a dermatologist on hand, Aaron Peterson . Pay us a visit and get a screening!

Recent posts from the Premier Family Medical Blog

Premier Family Medical Blog

By Premier Family Medical 19 Jul, 2017

In 2011, the CDC reported that  1 in 12 people in the US (approximately 25 million) have asthma , with the numbers rising every year. Can you imagine, then, how many people have chronic asthma in 2017?

Many people develop the disease as children. From then on they experience episodes of shortness of breath, chest tightening, coughing fits and wheezing. During asthma attacks, the airways leading to the lungs constrict, preventing enough air from passing in and out. Additionally, the body produces extra mucus, clogging the airways even more.

Needless to say, it can be a challenge for children and adults alike to live with this condition. Yet, you’ll be happy to know that it is manageable and doesn’t have to stop you from living a full, happy and healthy life. What are some things you can do to keep your asthma under wraps instead of it keeping you under wraps?
By Premier Family Medical 10 Jul, 2017

When most people hear that word arthritis, they immediately associate it with adults — especially older individuals. While the Arthritis Foundation does report that close to  50% of people over age 65 do have some form of arthritis , many younger individuals are also living with it.

In fact, two-thirds of those diagnosed are under age 65. You might be surprised to know that some 300,000 children of varying ages are a part of this group! The month of July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness month.The purpose is to educate parents and others on this painful condition and help them to support children who bravely battle it each day. Why not test your current knowledge on this important subject?

By Premier Family Medical 05 Jul, 2017

When summer rolls around, most people are inevitably exposed to more sun whether they lay out and tan or not. It’s been long since confirmed that the use of tanning beds and prolonged exposure to the sun, especially without any sun protection, can have detrimental effects.

This might leave you wondering how you can avoid these issues, yet still have healthy, glowing skin all summer long. Let’s consider some do’s and don’ts that will be a major help.

More Posts

Request An Appointment Find A Doctor Find A Location

Ask Us Anything

Do you have a health topic or question you'd like us to blog about?  Send us a message and lets us know what you want to hear from us. 
*All submissions are confidential

Share by: