Almost every day, 9,500 people in the United States learn they have skin cancer. Anyone can develop skin cancer. However, there are factors that increase a person’s risk.
At Associated Skin Care Specialists, our highly skilled board-certified dermatologists are experts at preventing, diagnosing, and treating skin cancer. Though we can help your fight against the common cancer, we want nothing more than to prevent you from getting it in the first place.
Who’s at risk
Everyone is at risk of developing skin cancer. However, certain people may be at greater risk because of genetics, characteristics, or habits.
You may be at greater risk of developing skin cancer if you have:
- Fair skin
- Blue or green eyes
- Blonde or red hair
- A family history of skin cancer
- Too many moles or abnormal moles
- Actinic keratosis (precancerous skin lesion)
- Weakened immune system
- A history or blistering sunburns as a child (one episode puts you at risk)
Unfortunately, most of these factors that put you at greater risk of developing skin cancer are out of your control.
However, overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun or UV light from a tanning bed are the main causes of skin cancer. Skin cancer is rapid growth of abnormal skin cells that occurs from damage to skin cell DNA.
Though there may be other factors involved, UV light causes most of the DNA damage that leads to skin cancer. Spending too much time in the sun without sunscreen or protective clothing puts you at risk.
Those summers you spent basking in the sun to get that perfect tan, you were actually injuring your skin. A tan is a skin injury that occurs from overexposure to UV light.
Reducing your risk
You can’t change your genetics or the past, but you can take steps right now that might lower your risk of developing skin cancer. First and foremost, protect your skin from the sun by applying sunscreen everyday, even when it’s not sunny, and wearing protective clothing.
You also want to avoid the sun when the UV rays are the strongest. If you’re outside during these times, look for shady areas or use an umbrella for protection.
We also recommend performing a skin self-exam once a month, looking for any abnormal growths or changes in existing moles. Regular skin exams help you become more familiar with what’s normal, making abnormalities more noticeable.
If you’re at risk for skin cancer, be sure to see us once a year for a comprehensive skin exam.
Getting the right care
What do you do when you find an abnormal skin growth? You schedule an appointment with one of our dermatologists right away.
We can take a look at your abnormal growth, remove it, and send it to our dermatopathology team for a close examination and diagnosis. We use many techniques when removing suspicious skin lesions, including surgical excision, cryotherapy, laser therapy, and Mohs surgery.
Mohs surgery is a highly skilled procedure that removes the cancerous tissue while limiting damage to the surrounding healthy skin. This procedure has the highest cure rate, but requires advanced surgical dermatology training. Our team includes a number of surgical dermatologists with fellowship training in Mohs surgery.
Are you at risk for skin cancer? Schedule an appointment at one of our dermatology clinics. We have offices in Blaine, Eden Prairie, Maple Grove, and Coon Rapids, Minnesota. Make an appointment using our convenient online scheduling tool by following the above links or by calling our office today.