Causes, prevention, and treatment for skin cancer

Dermatologist checks for skin cancer

Causes, prevention, and treatment for skin cancer

Skin cancer, like all cancers, can leave people with a sense of dread. Though most cancers aren’t foreseeable, with skin cancer, there are preventative steps that you can take to lower your risks. Most skin cancer cases are the result of too much sun exposure and not using skincare products, such as sunscreen, to protect the skin from harmful UV rays. 

Protecting your skin is just as important as anything else you do to stay healthy. Educating yourself on the importance of skin care and how sun damage can affect your health is the first step. In this article, we will aim to breakdown the causes of skin cancer, how you can take necessary steps to prevent it, and how it is treated after diagnosis. 

 

Causes

The number one cause of skin cancer is due to too much sun exposure. Though everyone is at risk for skin cancer, the following may put you at a higher risk than others: 

  • Fair skin
  • A history of sunburns 
  • A family history of skin cancer
  • If you work outdoors in the direct sunlight 

 

The darker your skin is, the less chance you have of developing skin cancer, seeing that the pigmentation helps protect from harmful UV rays. However, taking the necessary steps to further protect your skin is still recommended. 

Skin cancer is caused by a mutation of the DNA in skin cells. When exposed to too much sun, your cells can rapidly grow and begin to form a mass of cancerous cells. 

 

Prevention

When it comes to preventing too much skin exposure, there are several precautionary steps that you can take:

  • Wear plenty of sunscreen.  Applying sunscreen is the first thing you should do if you plan to spend the day in the sun. Of course, sunscreens do not entirely protect you from all UV rays, but it is still a major part of taking caution. It’s also important to know that you shouldn’t only wear sunscreen in the summertime. There is a huge misconception by many that sunscreen is only needed on those long summer beach days, which is entirely false. The sun’s rays are equally harmful in fall, winter, and spring as well. 
  • Wear clothing that will protect your skin. Since sunscreen doesn’t entirely protect you from UV rays, it’s also important to periodically cover your arms and legs with darker clothing throughout the day. This basically means to give your skin a break instead of spending the entire day fully exposed. It’s also recommended that you wear a hat as well as sunglasses to protect your eyes and face. 
  • Stay away from tanning beds. Dermatologists nationwide certainly recommend that everyone should stay away from tanning beds. Tanning beds are extremely harmful to the health of your skin, and they increase your risk of developing melanoma by 75 percent
  • When in doubt, get it checked out. If you discover a lump, mole, or sunspot that you’ve never noticed before, it is always important to get it checked out immediately. 

 

Treatment

Once diagnosed, your doctors will set up an individual skin cancer treatment plan for you, depending on the stage of your skin cancer. Your doctor may suggest a topical medication, undergoing Mohs surgery to remove the cancerous cells, radiation therapy, or destroying the cancer by freezing it off. 

 

The Takeaway 

In conclusion, no one is exempt from developing skin cancer, and it’s just another thing that we have to be cautious about regarding the health of our bodies. Understanding the causes of skin cancer can help you differentiate myths from truths so that you can prevent it. Early detection is also key to a great outcome, so don’t forget to perform your monthly skin cancer self-exam!

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your skin, or if you have a spot that you are concerned about, please schedule an appointment at one of our locations. Our team of dermatologists is always here to help! 

 

Cumberland Skin Surgery and Dermatology provides effective, compassionate general dermatology, skin cancer surgery and cosmetic dermatology solutions for our patients throughout the Southeast. With offices in Hermitage, Lebanon, Brentwood and Hendersonville, Tennessee, we’re your destination for high-caliber skincare. Visit our website at cumberlandskin.com or give us a call today at 615-257-7128.