How to know when a mole becomes cancerous

DR. D art mole B

Skin cancers can appear suddenly, and in many shapes and sizes. Fortunately, it can almost always be cured when found early and properly treated.
Research shows that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. It is estimated that more than one million Americans develop skin cancer annually, and more than 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma are treated. Also each year, in the United States, there are more new cases of skin cancer than there are combined cases of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers. That’s why May is designated to raise awareness about skin cancer, and to help people take action to prevent and detect it.

There are three types of skin cancer, which includes:
1. Basal Cell Carcinoma: BCC is the most common form of skin cancer. It is rarely fatal, but if left untreated, can become highly disfiguring.

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Source: WebMD

  1. Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This cancer is the second most common form of skin cancer.
    Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 6.35.08 PM

Source: WebMD

  1. Malignant Melanoma: This cancer is the most serious skin cancer. It is estimated that one person dies every 52 minutes from this condition.Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 6.35.12 PM

Source: WebMD

No one is exempt from skin cancer, and can affect everyone’s skin and eyes. According to the American Cancer Society, some common factors that increase your chances of developing the condition include:

  • Having a family history of skin cancer
  • Had skin cancer in the past
  • Have several moles, irregular moles or large moles
  • Have freckles and burn before tanning
  • Have fair skin, blue or green eyes or blond, red or light brown hair
  • Live or vacation at high altitudes
  • Live or vacation in tropical or subtropical climates
  • Work indoors all week and then get intense sun exposure on weekends
  • Spend a lot of time outdoors
  • Have certain autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus.
  • Have certain inherited conditions that increase your risk of skin cancer, such as xeroderma pigmentosum or nevoid basal cell carcinoma syndrome.
  • Have a medical condition that weakens your immune system, such as HIV, the virus that causes AIDS
  • Have had an organ transplant
  • Take medications that lower or suppress your immune system
  • Take medicines that make your skin more sensitive to sunlight

Some methods of protecting yourself from harmful UV rays include using an effective sunscreen, seeking shade when possible, wearing clothing that provides protection, wearing hats with at least a 2- to 3-inch brim, wearing sunglasses and avoiding tanning beds and sun lamps.

If you or someone you know suspects skin cancer, please call Dr. Schumacher at (614) 299-9909 to set up an appointment. If you have a form of skin cancer, finding it early is the best way to ensure it can be effectively treated.

Heat Wave! Staying Safe in the Summer Sun

DR. D art skincare2It’s that time of year again. Long, hot summer days spent at the pool or just being outdoors to enjoy nature.

Keeping your skin protected from the sun is crucial to prevent sunburns as well as the risk of developing skin cancer. Sunscreen is the best way to keep your skin safe from the sun’s harmful rays. Educating yourself on different types of sunblock and its importance will help keep your skin safe this summer.

UVA, UVB, SPF…so many initials!

UVA and UVB are types of ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted by the sun. Although the atmosphere’s ozone layer shields us from most of this radiation, the UV light that gets through can cause damage to our skin.

UVB light is primarily responsible for sunburn. UVA light penetrates the skin more than UVB light does and causes tanning. Both types of UV light contribute to premature skin aging, skin cancer and other types of skin damage.

SPF stands for “Sun Protection Factor.” The SPF number is a measurement of how well a product protects against UVB light. Contrary to what many people believe, SPF is not an indication of how much time you can spend in the sun. If you use a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 rather than one with an SPF of 15, it doesn’t mean you can stay in the sun twice as long. Rather, it means that a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 filters out about 93 percent of UVB rays. A sunscreen with an SPF of 30 offers slightly more protection because it filters about 97 percent of UVB rays.

Sunblock…how do I know what to use?

The best sunblock varies from person to person. However, most dermatologists recommend a broad-spectrum sunblock with UVA and UVB protection and a SPF rating of at least 30.

Sunblocks tend to be divided into two categories – chemical vs. physical agents. Chemical sunblocks work by absorbing the energy of UV radiation before it affects your skin. Physical sunblocks reflect or scatter UV radiation before it reaches your skin. Both agents are important, so look for sunscreens that have both.

There are many different varieties of sunblocks to choose from. Lotions, oils, sticks, gels, sprays and creams can all be effective sunscreens. All sunscreens should be applied 15-20 minutes before sun exposure to allow a protective film to develop, then reapplied after water contact and sweating. Reapplying every two hours is important, as some sunblocks can lose effectiveness after that time.

If you enjoying swimming or are involved in other water sports, water resistant sunblocks are available. Sunscreens can be labeled “water-resistant” (maintains the SPF level after 40 minutes of water immersion) or “very water-resistant” (maintains the SPF level after 80 minutes of water immersion).

Top 10 Sunblock Brands

Coolibar, the nation’s leading sun protective clothing manufacturer, conducted a survey to reveal the top 10 dermatologist recommended sunscreen brands. The survey was conducted at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) in Miami Beach, FL.

The top 10 list is a mix of mass-market sunscreens and specialty brands. They are listed in order of the frequency with which they are recommended by dermatologists to patients:

  1. Neutrogena
  2. Aveeno
  3. La Roche-Posay
  4. Elta
  5. Vanicream
  6. Coppertone
  7. Blue Lizard
  8. Eucerin
  9. Solbar
  10. Fallene

New FDA Sunscreen Labeling

Currently, the FDA is proposing new regulations for sunscreen labeling. Under the new regulation, the agency has proposed that sunscreen labeling be expanded to provide a four-star rating system that informs consumers how well the product protects them against UVA light.

“For more than 30 years, consumers have been able to identify the level of UVB protection provided by sunscreens using only sunburn protection factor or SPF values,” said Andrew C. von Eschenbach, M.D., Commissioner, Food and Drugs. Under this proposal, “consumers will also now know the level of UVA protection in sunscreens, which will help them make informed decisions about protecting themselves and their children against the harmful effects of the sun.”

The proposed UVA rating system is as follows:

  • One star, low UVA protection
  • Two stars, medium protection
  • Three stars, high protection
  • Four stars, the highest UVA protection available in an over-the-counter (OTC) sunscreen product

The FDA also proposes changes regarding protection against UVB light. The agency would like to change its existing rule on UVB products to increase the maximum sunburn protection factor from SPF 30+ to SPF 50+.

So enjoy the lazy days of summer spent by the pool or hosting barbeques with friends and family. But remember to stay safe and wear your sunscreen 🙂

If you have any concerns regarding sun protection and skin care, please consult your physician or dermatologist.


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