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Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most prevalent of all types of cancers. It is estimated that more then one million Americans develop skin cancer every year.

Fair-skinned people who sunburn easily are at a particularly high risk for developing skin cancer. Other less important factors include repeated medical x-ray exposure, scarring from diseases or burns, occupational exposure to compounds such as coal tar and arsenic, and family history.


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See Video on Mohs Surgery for Skin Cancer Before and After




ACTINIC KERATOSES (AK)
BASAL CELL CARCINOMA (BCC)
SWUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA (SCC)
MALIGNANT MELANOMA
Prevention
Periodic Self-Examination

ACTINIC KERATOSES (AK)

Before and After
Fair-skinned people who sunburn easily are at a particularly high risk for developing skin cancer. Other less important factors include repeated medical x-ray exposure, scarring from diseases or burns, occupational exposure to compounds such as coal tar and arsenic, and family history.

Actinic Keratoses or Solar Keratoses are considered the earliest stage in the development of skin cancer. They are small, scaly spots most commonly found on the face, ears, neck, lower arms, and back of the hands in fair-sinned individuals who have had significant sun exposure. Actinic Keratoses can be treated by Cryotherapy ( freezing), Topical Chemoterapy ( applying a cream or lotion), Chemical Peeling, Dermabrasion, Laser Surgery, Curettage, Photodynamic Therapy ( a chemical is applied to the skin prior exposure to a light source., or other dermatologic surgical procedures.




BASAL CELL CARCINOMA (BCC)

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer worldwide, accounting for 80% of all diagnosed skin cancer cases.

Where Occurs

Basal cell carcinoma appears most often on sun-exposed areas, such as the as the face, scalp, ears, neck, chest, hands, back, and legs. Though rare, basal cell carcinoma can occur on skin that has been protected from the sun.

Warning Signs

As the photographs below show, basal cell carcinoma can take several forms:
  • Small, translucent growth with rolled edges that may be pigmented (brown) or have small blood vessels on the surface
  • Open sore that bleeds, heals, and then repeats the cycle
  • Cluster of slow-growing, shiny pink or red lesions that are slightly scaly and bleed easily
  • Flat or slightly depressed lesion that feels hard to the touch; may be white or yellow and have indistinct borders
  • Waxy scar that is skin-colored, white, or yellow
Before and After
An enlarged image of a basal cell carcinoma that appeared as a sore that never fully heals.



Before and After Patients all have nodular basal cell carcinoma, a type of basal cell carcinoma that appears as a well-defined growth with rolled edges. It may be pigmented or translucent with visible blood vessels. Also known as cystic basal cell carcinoma, it usually appears on the face.

Before and After

This elderly patient has superficial basal cell carcinoma, a type of basal cell carcinoma that usually appears as multiple, slow-growing, shiny pink or red, slightly scaly lesions that most often develop on the trunk and shoulders.







Before and After

This poorly defined firm white area of skin shows a tumor that involves much of the patient�s cheek.







Before and After

This type of basal cell carcinoma is called sclerosing basal cell carcinoma, which typically appears as a thickened, skin-colored scar.






SWUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA (SCC)

Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for approximately 16% of all new skin cancer cases in the United States.

Where Occurs

It is most commonly found on sun-exposed areas of the body, such as the face, ears, neck, arms, scalp, and hands. However, it may occur anywhere - even inside of the mouth, on a lip, or on genitals.

Warning Signs

Signs of squamous cell carcinoma include:
  • Crusted or scaly area on the skin with a red, inflamed base
  • Persistent, non-healing, ulcerated (skin not covering) bump or thickened skin on the lower lip
  • Wart-like growth or plaque
  • Sore that does not heal
  • Red, scaly patches or bumps


The tumors can reach ¾ to 1 inch in size and develop into large masses. Since squamous cell carcinoma has the potential to metastasize (spread), this form of skin cancer can be lethal if not treated. In aggressive cases, the tumor can spread to the lymph nodes or internal organs. This is especially true when a tumor begins on a lip or ear, or the patient has a weakened immune system. Conditions that weaken the immune system include an organ transplant, lymphoma, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).


Before and After
This tumor developed rapidly over a six-month period on the patient's scalp.








MALIGNANT MELANOMA

While only 4% of diagnosed skin cancer is melanoma, melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer because of its ability to spread. This is why it is so important to catch melanoma early when the cure rate with dermatological surgery is about 95%.

Where Occurs

Melanoma can appear anywhere on the body - soles, palms, inside the mouth, genitalia, and underneath nails. However, it is most commonly found on the back, buttocks, legs, scalp, neck, and behind the ears.

Warning Signs

Melanoma often develops in a pre-existing mole that begins to change or a new mole. It is estimated that 20% to 40% of melanomas arise from an atypical mole. This is why it is so important to be familiar with the moles on your body and perform regular self-examinations of your skin. When looking at moles, keep in mind the ABCDs of Melanoma Detection:


Before and After








































It is important to realize that a mole may have some of the characteristics described above and not be a melanoma. A biopsy is often necessary to distinguish an atypical mole from a melanoma.

Other warning signs of melanoma include:
  • Change in the appearance of a mole, such as the spreading of the pigment from the border of the mole into the surrounding skin
  • A mole that looks scaly, oozes, or bleeds
  • Itching, tenderness, or pain in a mole or lesion
  • Brown or black streak that appears underneath a nail or around the nail
  • Bruise on the foot that does not heal






Prevention
Most skin cancer can be prevented by practicing sun protection, according to numerous research studies. Research also shows that not only does sun protection reduce one�s risk of developing skin cancer; sun protection also may decrease the likelihood of recurrence.

Even if you have spent a lot of time in the sun or developed skin cancer, it�s never too late to begin protecting your skin. The American Academy of Dermatology (Academy) recommends that everyone protect their skin by following these sun protection practices:


Sun Protection Practices

1. Avoid deliberate tanning. Lying in the sun may feel good, but the end result is premature aging (wrinkles, blotchiness, and sagging skin) as well as a 1 in 5 chance of developing skin cancer. Tanning beds and sunlamps are just as dangerous because they, too, emit enough UV radiation to cause premature aging and skin cancer. If you like the look of a tan, consider using a sunless self-tanning product. These products do not protect skin from the sun, so a sunscreen should be used.

2. Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that includes vitamin supplements. Don't seek the sun.

3. Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin every day. The sunscreen should have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 and be broad-spectrum (provides protection from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays).

Dermatologists worldwide agree that the Australians' use of the word "slop!" accurately describes how sunscreen should be used. Most people do not apply enough sunscreen to help protect against harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. One ounce, enough to fill a shot glass, is considered by the Academy to be the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of the body properly. So when applying sunscreen, remember to "slop!" it on.

Here are a few more tips:
  • Don't forget your ears, nose, neck, hands, and toes. Many skin cancers develop in these areas. Protect your lips, another high-risk area, with lip balm that offers sun protection with an SPF of 15 or higher.
  • Sunscreen should not be used to prolong sun exposure. Some UV light gets through sunscreen.
  • Sunscreens should be applied to dry skin 15-30 minutes before going outdoors, and reapplied every two hours.
  • Be sure to reapply sunscreen after being in water or sweating.
  • Sunscreen does not make sunbathing safe.
4. Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, where possible. This is what Australians call the "slip!-and-slap!" of sun protection. When you will be out in the sun, be sure to slip on protective clothing, such as a shirt, and slap on a wide-brimmed hat. Here's why:
  • Clothing protects your skin from the sun's harmful rays. The tighter the weave, the more sun protection provided. In fact, clothing plays such an important role in sun protection that clothing designed specifically to protect against the sun as well as laundry additives created to boost clothing�s protective function are available. Your dermatologist may be able to provide you with more information about these products.
  • A wide-brimmed hat shades your face and neck from the sun's rays. Wide-brimmed means the brim circles the entire hat and shades both the face and neck.
Seek shade when appropriate. The sun�s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun. This can increase your risk chance of sunburn.

Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see a dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.

More Good Reasons to Practice Sun Protection

Aside from skin cancer, the sun's UV rays also cause:
  • Premature aging: Signs of premature aging include wrinkles, mottled skin, and loss of skin's firmness.
  • Immunosuppression (weakening of the body's ability to protect itself from cancer and other diseases)
  • Cataracts and macular degeneration: Macular degeneration, for which there is no cure, is the leading cause of blindness in people aged 65 and older.



Periodic Self-Examination


Before and After

Examine your body front and back in the mirror, then right and left sides with arms raised. Women should look under their breasts.







Before and After

Bend elbows and look carefully at forearms, upper underarms, and palms.







Before and After

Look at the backs of your legs and feet, the spaces between your toes, and on the soles. If you cannot see all parts of your feet, use a handheld mirror.







Before and After



Examine the backs of your neck and scalp with a hand mirror. Part your hair to examine the entire scalp.





Before and After

Finally, check your back and buttocks with a hand mirror.















Call now to schedule your complimentary consultation with Dr. Jeffrey Rapaport for healthy, younger-looking skin. Tel: (201) 227-1555.

You can also ask questions by clicking on Ask Questions






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