Are You at Risk – Skin Safety for Melanoma Skin Cancer

skin cancer_phoenix

With the summer approaching quickly here in Phoenix, there is a real need to talk about the risks of too much sun. Overexposure to sunrays have many people concerned about developing skin cancer, specifically melanoma. This type of cancer is less common but a more serious type of skin cancer. Melanoma is a malignant (or cancerous) tumor of melanocytes which produce dark pigment in the skin called melanin. If this form of cancer is not found in its early stages, the outlook for patients with melanoma is not good – nearly 75% of all deaths from skin cancer occur in melanoma patients.


Signs of Melanoma

Every year, around 160,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed worldwide – 48,000 people die of melanoma skin cancer yearly. This disease is more common in Caucasians, and even more common in people who live in sunny regions.


Early signs of melanoma include:

  • Changes in color, shape, or size of existing moles
  • New lumps appearing on the body
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue

If you are experiencing a combination of these symptoms, see your dermatologist immediately for a full screening.


 How to Protect Yourself from Skin Cancer

Protecting yourself from melanoma is going to take some effort if you live in a sunny area like Phoenix, Arizona. If you minimize your exposure to ultraviolent radiation (UV rays), you can reduce your risk significantly of developing skin cancer. The first precaution anyone worried about melanoma should take is staying away from tanning beds, period. A tanning bed is a giant box of concentrated cancer causing UV rays – using one is asking for trouble!


Additionally, covering your skin from sun exposure when you are outside, every time you are outside, will reduce your risk of skin damage as well. If dressing to avoid the sun is not for you, sunscreen is your next best option – although the effectiveness of skin screen to prevent melanoma has been at the center of debate for many decades. Remember, just because you cannot see the sun does not mean you are not getting rays – if you can see a shadow, your skin needs to be protected!


While the sun is the primary cause of melanoma, other factors impact your chances of developing skin cancers as well.


Risk factors other than UV rays include:

  • Tobacco use
  • Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infections
  • Genetics
  • Chronic non-healing wounds


Family Practice Specialists

If you believe you might be at risk for skin cancer, don’t hesitate to give Family Practice Specialists a call today. With two dermatologists on staff, Dr. Racette, as well as the technology and experience to diagnose melanoma, there is no reason to go anywhere else! Call today! 602.955.8700

Posted by Phoenix Doctor in Dermatology in Phoenix, Family Physician | Permalink |