Dr. Sax Blog

Florida Residents Use Caution!
The summer sun is upon us, and with June being skin cancer month it is a great time to learn more about the causes of skin cancer and what you can do to protect yourself.
What is Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. and over the past 30 years more cases of skin cancer have been diagnosed than all other forms of cancer combined. Skin cancer is most often caused by continued exposure to UV rays such as those from the sun or tanning beds. UV rays can damage skin cells and cause them to mutate. When these mutated cells multiply, a tumor is formed.
There are three main types of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Both basal and squamous cell carcinomas rarely expand to other parts of the body and become life threatening, but they can lead to disfiguration and other serious conditions if left untreated. Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and cells mutated by melanoma are the most likely to spread around the body. Even melanomas, however, are almost always curable if they are identified and treated early.
Who Should Be Concerned?
Anyone can get skin cancer, but people with fair skin and light hair are at the highest risk. The more time a person spends in the sun without protective clothing or sunscreen, the higher the risk they will develop a skin cancer. Other considerations such as prolonged exposure to the sun as a child, and family history also play a part in each patient’s chances of developing skin cancer.
Though UV radiation is the most common cause of skin cancer, there are other factors involved that scientists do not yet fully understand. Skin cancer can develop on areas of the body that are almost never exposed to the sun’s UV rays; and infant children who very rarely go outside and are constantly covered up can still get the disease. This is why it is extremely important to check both you and your child’s ENTIRE body for new growths and discolorations at least once a month, and have any abnormal areas checked out by a skin-care professional.

Next – Mohs Surgery Series Part 2 – Learn The Warning Signs of Skin Cancer!