4 Things You May Not Know About Skin Cancer

happy-family-at-the-sunny-beachSkin cancer is a medical anomaly in the sense that despite how common and well known it is, there are still so many things that the average person may not know or understand about it. As experts on the subject, our board-certified dermatologists and physician assistants pride ourselves on being able to educate our patients about skin cancer. Especially this time of year as temperatures rise and many people spend more and more time outdoors in the sun. Keeping reading for info on a few things our team at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta thinks that everyone should know about skin cancer this summer.

#1: The Survival Rate for Skin Cancer is Extremely High

While skin cancer is among the most common forms of cancer and skin cancer rates are currently rising in the US, that doesn’t mean that anyone reading this should panic. As long as skin cancer is detected in its earliest stage before it has a chance to spread, the 5-year survival rate from skin cancer is roughly 99%. This just reinforces how important it is to be vigilant about sun protection and keeping up with skin cancer screenings and self-checks.

#2: Sunburns Are a Contributing Factor

According to experts at the Skin Cancer Foundation, experiencing sun burns over time can contribute to increased risk of skin cancer. In fact, they estimate that having 5 or more sunburns can roughly double a person’s risk for melanoma. With this in mind, it’s critical to be mindful when spending extended periods of time outdoors and wear a broad-spectrum (minimum 30 SPF) sunscreen year round.

#3: Indoor Tanning Can Be Just as Harmful

If you’ve ever heard anyone say that indoor tanning (the use of tanning beds) is better for your skin than natural sunlight, this is false. Most tanning beds utilize UVA light energy that can damage the skin and increase the risk of skin cancer. Even just using a tanning bed once can have negative impacts on your skin.

#4: Skin Cancer Can Emerge in Unexpected Areas

Certain skin cancers like melanomas can appear on areas of the body that you might not expect or areas that don’t even get a lot (or any) of sun exposure. This includes on the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet, internal organs and even under the nails. This is why, while helpful and highly recommended, self-checking for skin cancer is not enough.

If you notice anything new or irregular on your skin, it’s important to reach out to an expert as soon as possible to make sure it’s not anything to worry about. For more information on skin cancer or to schedule a dermatology appointment with one of our board-certified dermatologists or physician assistants, contact Dermatology Associates of Atlanta today. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more skin care tips and practice updates.