Arizona Skin Cancer Foundation is our May charity. ASCF's goal is to provide financial assistance to skin cancer patients who cannot afford treatment. Since 2011, they have been educating the public to awareness, the treatment and prevention of skin cancer.
As we head into the summer months, activities naturally move out of doors and the risks of skin cancer from sun exposure increases. Skin that is most exposed to the sun (i.e. scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms and hands, as well as legs with women) is the primary location of where skin cancer develops. Skin cancer doesn’t discriminate between skin tones, those with darker complexions are just as at risk as the fair complected. The most common forms of skin cancer are Basal Cell Carcinoma, Squamous Cell Carcinoma and Melanoma. There are less common forms of skin cancer such as Kaposi Sarcoma, Merkel cell Carcinoma, and Sebaceous gland Carcinoma.
When you find questionable areas, you need to bring it to your doctor’s attention as soon as possible. Treatment varies on the size, type, depth and location. Small areas can be limited to the surface and may not require anything beyond the initial biopsy the removes the entire growth. If additional treatment is needed your options may be freezing, excisional surgery, Mohs surgery, curettage and electrodesiccation or cryotherapy, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, photodynamic therapy and biological therapy. The manner in which the cancer is treated should be discussed with your doctor and determined what the best option for your situation may be. Remember the best offense is a good defense and the same applies to cancer prevention.
The best way to lower your risks of skin cancer is prevention. Avoid the sun during the middle of the day, between the hours of 10am and 4pm. Use sun screen year-round, making sure it’s a broad spectrum sunscreen of an SPF of at least 15. Apply generously and every 2 hours. Don’t forget lips, tips of ears, back of hands and neck. Covering up with broad brimmed hats, long sleeves (dark, tightly woven clothing is recommended) as well as using sunglasses. The best protection for your eyes is sunglasses that block both types of UV radiation – UVA and UVB rays. Avoid the use of tanning beds as the risk of melanoma increases 300% for those using occasionally and by 800% for those using more than 10 times per year. Be aware of medications that you are taking that may make your skin more vulnerable to the sun (i.e. antibiotics). Your pharmacist can inform you about which medications have that sun sensitizing side effects. Remember to check your skin regularly and report changes to your doctor.
Identifying markers of common skin cancers
Basal Cell Carcinoma: Pearly or waxy bump + Flat, flesh-colored or brown scar-like lesion
Squamous Cell Carcinoma: Firm, red nodule + Flat lesion with a scaly crusted surface
Melanoma: Large brownish spot with darker speckles + Mole that changes in color, size or feel or that bleeds + Small lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear red, white, blue of blue-black + Dark lesions on your palms, soles, fingertips or toes, or on mucous membranes lining your mouth, nose, vagina or anus
Identifying markers of less common skin cancer
Kaposi Sarcoma: develops in the blood vessels, causes red or purple patches on the skin or mucous membranes. Usually occurs in people with weakened immune systems (AIDS or Organ transplant)
Merkel cell Carcinoma: firm shiny nodules that occur on or just beneath the skin and in hair follicles (most often found on head, neck and trunk)
Sebaceous gland Carcinoma: originates in the oil glands in the skin, usually appears as hard nodules that are painless, they are most prevalent on the eyelid but can occur anywhere on the body.
ActiveForever is a strong supporter of health and wellness; we encourage you to look at our products that will assist you in preventing skin cancer. We carry a full line of shade options from the Canopy for the Afikim Breeze to a FitMax iPool Umbrella to protect you as you swim. We also carry a variety of sunblock options, First Aid Only Sunscreen Lotion Pouch M4014-SUNX, First Aid Only Sunscreen Towlette M4014-TOW, R & R Industrial Suncreen SPF 30, and North Safety SunX Suncreen Lotion to name of few. To assist you in monitoring changes in your complexion, we also carry an assortment of mirrors from the Hand Held Inspection Mirror to the Kimball & Young Mirror Image Pivot Arm Magnifying Wall Mirror. We wish you a happy and safe summer!
Mayo clinic, Health Central