Skin cancer is the one of the most common types of cancer in the United States, but for many people it’s still full of mystery because of many false myths that have lasted over the years. Dermatology Associates of Atlanta has provided accurate diagnosis and treatment for this condition for over 40 years. Throughout this time, we’ve decided that it’s one of our duties to clarify this topic and speak to our patients directly about the important signs, treatments and myths about skin cancer.
The frequency in which you get sunburned is not a reliable indication about your risk of skin cancer. Skin cancer can occur on all skin types—even if you don’t necessarily burn when you have prolonged sun exposure. Most cases occur from direct contact with UV radiation through sunlight, which doesn’t always produce an obvious physical sign.
People with darker skin aren’t at risk of skin cancer
This is a dangerous myth because it urges many people to not think about taking necessary precautions to prevent skin cancer. Many individuals believe that they aren’t at risk because they have a darker complexion. This is utterly false. Anybody can develop skin cancer—regardless of their pigment.
Skin cancer isn’t an issue for young people
For a large portion of the youth population, skin cancer isn’t thought to be a primary health concern. There is a false notion that this condition only develops in a person’s 50’s or 60’s—after decades of consistent contact with sunlight. Younger people who have received prolonged sun exposure can still absolutely get skin cancer.
However, it’s important to note that it can still develop in people who haven’t spent long periods of time in the sun. There is a chance of a genetic predisposition to melanoma. Therefore, basing your potential risk on age can be dangerous because this allows for signs and symptoms to be missed when you aren’t taking proactive safety measures such as using sun screen and undergoing annual skin cancer body checks.
You can’t get skin cancer from a tanning bed
Tanning beds are popular for darkening skin pigment to achieve a base tan or healthier glow while avoiding natural sunrays. Unfortunately, this method is not a safe alternative to sunbathing. The lamps inside tanning beds still emit UV radiation unto an individual. It’s an artificial source, but the damaging consequence are very similar to real sunlight. Our providers at Dermatology Associates of Atlanta strongly urge you to not use a tanning bed for any cosmetic purpose. The health risks far outweigh any of the aesthetic benefits that could be achieved.
The biggest key to protecting yourself from skin cancer is prevention and routine checkups. If you catch it in the early stages of development, there are far more treatment options and a greater chance of success. Our practice recommends that patients receive at least one annual skin cancer body check. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, contact our office at (404) 256-4457 today. Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for updates on our monthly specials and events.