Skin cancer may seem like it would be rather harmless, but actually it can be deadly. It is also very common – the Skin Cancer Foundation estimates that 20% of Americans will develop this disease and that two people die of skin cancer every hour. Here are some important things to know about skin cancer and how to prevent it.

  1. Basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma are the three main types of skin cancer. Melanoma is the least common of the three but results in the most deaths, because it is most likely to spread to other tissues. Melanoma can develop anywhere, even on skin that is hardly ever exposed to the sun. Basal and squamous cell carcinomas, however, are usually found on skin that is often exposed to the sun.
  2. Skin cancer doesn’t just affect people with light skin tones – people with darker skin tones are also at risk.
  3. If you’ve had skin cancer once, you have an increased risk of getting it again. Others with increased risk are people with a family history of skin cancer, people with very fair skin, and people who have had a serious sunburn.
  4. You have probably heard how important it is to take precautions, but these tips are worth keeping in mind: avoid tanning beds; wear sunscreen even when it is cloudy; wear clothing that covers skin (don’t forget sunglasses to protect the skin around your eyes and your eyes as well); and ask your doctor if any medications you may be taking may make you more sensitive to the sun. It is also important to check your skin often for any irregularities, especially if you are in a high-risk group.
  5. Cancer that is diagnosed early is easier to treat. If you have a lesion that is burning or painful, a mole that changes in color or size, or any other unexplainable change in your skin, you should see a doctor right away.

If you’ve been diagnosed with skin cancer, Specialists in Plastic Surgery in Raleigh, North Carolina, can remove the cancer for you. Call (919) 785-0505 today for a consultation.

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