Skin Cancers

What skin cancer looks like

Both patients have the most common type of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma. Even the same type of skin cancer can look very different from person to person. This makes it hard to look at a picture and tell if you have skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology offers free skin cancer screenings throughout the year. They also can help you find a dermatologist in your area. Simply use the tools in the right column of this page.

The best way to tell if you have skin cancer is to see a dermatologist. You should see a dermatologist right away for a skin cancer check if you see anything on your skin that lasts for two weeks or longer and is:

  • Growing
  • Changing shape
  • Bleeding or itching

These are signs of skin cancer. If it is caught early and removed, skin cancer has a high cure rate.

The most common cancer in the world

More than 2 million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed this year. And that’s just in the United States. Most Americans will have one of these skin cancers:

  • Basal (bay-sal) cell carcinoma
  • Squamous (skwey-muhs) cell carcinoma
  • Melanoma

Most people get skin cancer from too much sun – or tanning beds.

Research shows that indoor tanning (e.g., tanning beds, sun lamps) increases a person’s risk of getting melanoma by 75 percent.

Skin Cancer Prevention

Skin cancer affects millions of Americans each year, however, there are several things you can do to help protect your skin.

  1. Wear Protective Clothing: When venturing out into the sun, it is important to wear protective clothing. Hats, UV-protected shirts and pants, and sunglasses can all help block of the sun’s harmful rays and keep your skin safe.
  2. Always Use Sunscreens: A good sunscreen is something everyone needs in their skin-defending arsenal. Even on a cloudy day, UV rays are making their way to your skin, so it is important to use sunscreen at all times. We offer EltaMD® sun protection products to help maintain healthy skin throughout the year.
  3. Take Oral Supplements: Heliocare® is an oral dietary supplement that, when taken, helps to maintain your skin’s natural ability to protect itself against sun damage and aging.
  4. Avoid Excessive Intense Sun Exposure (Between 10am and 4pm): The sun is at its worst between the hours of 10am and 4pm. During this time, it’s best to avoid any unnecessary sun exposure to avoid sun damage or premature aging. When avoidance is not an option (we all need a day in the sun once-in-a-while) make sure to wear protective clothing and lather on the sunscreen.
  5. Have an Annual Complete Skin Exam: Early detection is key to beating skin cancer. A yearly exam with a certified dermatologist can help catch precancerous spots early and prevent your case from worsening. It’s also important to perform regular self-checks at home.

Learn more about skin cancer:

Signs and symptoms
Who gets and causes
Diagnosis, treatment, and outcome
Tips for managing
The Skin Cancer Foundation

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