Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common cancer both in the United States and around the world. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. While there are many different types of skin cancer, the most common types are basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma.

Skin cancer is highly curable when detected early. Most skin cancer can be treated with outpatient surgery in the dermatologist’s office with standard excision or with a special procedure called Moh’s micrographic surgery.

The good news? Most skin cancer is preventable! It is now known that 90% of basal cell and squamous cell and 65% of melanoma arises from excessive ultraviolet radiation exposure from the sun or indoor tanning. Tanning – either from natural sunlight or tanning beds – is never recommended. Studies have shown that even a single session in a tanning bed can increase your risk for developing skin cancer. Research has also shown that indoor tanning increases a person’s risk of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, by 75%. Given the incidence of skin cancer and the importance of early detection, regular skin examinations with a dermatologist are essential. Self-examinations at home are also critical for early detection of skin cancer. Any new or changing lesions should be examined by your dermatologist.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends daily use of SPF 30 sunscreen, as well as the use of sun protective hats and clothing. It’s important to remember that sunscreen must be reapplied very frequently; typically every two hours is sufficient. However, if swimming or perspiring, hourly reapplication is recommended. Learn more.