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May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month and, with more than 300 days of sunshine annually, Arizonans are exposed to more UV rays than most Americans.
Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers and accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States. More than 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer are diagnosed in this country each year. Early detection is key to saving lives. Annual complete body skin examinations by the doctors at Affiliated Dermatology can help in the diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer.
Affiliated Dermatology performs skin exams and biopsies that can quickly determine whether a patient is at risk of developing skin cancer or has already developed the disease. Skin cancers are generally curable if caught early. However, people who have had skin cancer are at a higher risk of developing new skin cancer, which is why regular self-examination and doctor visits are imperative.
Here in Phoenix, Arizona, residents are exposed to considerably more ultraviolet radiation than people in most parts of the country, and this has resulted in a large number of individuals developing skin cancer or precancerous growths. As a result, it is important for local residents to stay vigilant in preventing the development of skin cancer and to report any possible symptoms of skin cancer to their doctor as quickly as possible.
How to Check Yourself For Skin Cancer
The American Academy of Dermatology has developed the following ABCDE guide for assessing whether or not a mole or other lesion may be becoming cancerous.
- Asymmetry: Half the mole does not match the other half in size, shape or color.
- Border: The edges of the mole are irregular or blurred.
- Color: The mole is not the same color throughout.
- Different: The mole does not look similar to other moles on the body.
- Evolving: The mole is changing is size, shape or color, becoming larger, or bleeding.
If any of these conditions occur, please make an appointment to see one of our dermatologists right away. The doctor may do a biopsy of the mole to determine if it is or isn’t cancerous.
Roughly 90% of nonmelanoma cancers are attributable to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. The best way to prevent skin cancer is to limit exposure to sunlight. Having a suntan or sunburn means that the skin has been damaged by the sun, and continued tanning or burning increases the chance of developing skin cancer.
- Always use sunscreen, at least 30 SPF UVA/UVB
- Wear a wide brim hat and sunglasses
- Avoid midday sun exposure – the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Avoid tanning booths
- Perform self examinations once a month
- Schedule an annual full body skin exam with your dermatologist
How do I get scheduled for a skin cancer screening or dermatology visit?
Call our office at (602) 775-5024 or fill out the form below and one of our patient care coordinators will help you book an appointment.