Know How to Detect the Different Types of Skin Cancer

We all enjoy time spent out in the sun, but unfortunately, any exposure to UV rays without the use of sunscreen could be doing irreversible damage to our skin! According to the American Cancer Society, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Although these numbers might sound scary, skin cancer has a very high survival rate. The key to successful treatment is to spot the cancer right away. Keep reading to learn about the most common types of skin cancer and how they can be detected and treated.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer, involving the basal cells within the outer layers of skin. This type of cancer often appears as an open sore or red patch that can be mistaken for a nonthreatening condition like psoriasis. Other times, the cancer presents itself as a shiny bump or slow growing tumor. These often occur on sun exposed areas like the head and neck. Many of my patients tell me it started Luke a pimple. The size of the tumor can help indicate the stage that the cancer is in. Basal cell carcinoma can sometimes be treated with the Mohs surgery technique. This is a highly effective microsurgery technique used to remove the cancer layer by layer until only healthy tissue remains. It gives you the highest cure rate with the least chance if recurrence. The exact course of treatment, however, will depend on the size of the cancer and how far it has progressed.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common type of skin cancer and is more aggressive than basal cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma can appear as a scaly red patch, wart, open sore, growth, or depression in the skin that doesn’t heal. The surrounding skin usually shows signs of sun damage as well with sun spots, laxity, and wrinkles. Squamous cell carcinomas can occur on any area of the body but most often appear on the lip, face, scalp, neck, and arms. Mohs surgery can be used to treat this type of cancer as well, removing the cancerous tissue while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible.

Melanoma

Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, but survival rates are still high when detected early. The cancer usually appears as a growth or mole, although it’s important to remember that most moles are harmless! This can appear on any sun exposed area of your body such as your arms, neck, or hands. You can detect the first sign of this type of cancer by understanding the ABCDE’s of melanoma. This includes Asymmetry, an irregular Border, having multiple Colors, a Diameter larger than a pencil eraser, and a mole that Evolves or changes in any way. Often times melanoma develops in an existing mole, so, if you notice any mole begin to change, you should have it checked out by your dermatologist. Most times, however, melanoma will appear as a new mole, so if you notice a new mole forming, watch carefully for signs of skin cancer. Melanoma treatment will depend on the stage it’s in but will likely involve surgical removal of the cancerous mole.

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Know your risk level

Certain individuals are at a higher risk of skin cancer than others and should take extra caution when it comes to staying out of the sun and examining their skin for signs of cancer. Factors that can put you at a higher risk of skin cancer include having fair skin, a personal or family history of skin cancer, prolonged UV exposure (especially from tanning beds), or a weakened immune system. If you know you’re at a higher risk of skin cancer, self-examination is very important. It is also important to have a full-body exam from a dermatologist for a professional opinion and to examine hard-to-reach areas like your back and private areas. Melanoma can arise where the sun does not shine.

How you can prevent future damage

Although past sun exposure can do irreversible damage to your skin, you can still protect yourself from future damage! Always apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to any sun exposed areas before going outside. If you can, it’s recommended to avoid over exposure to the sun during the hours it’s the strongest, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You should avoid the use of tanning beds completely, as these UV rays are much stronger than natural sunlight, greatly increasing your risk of skin cancer.

If you notice any of these signs of skin cancer, contact Jupiter Dermatology right away! Our board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Mejia, can examine your skin to detect signs of cancer and develop the appropriate treatment plan.

ABCDE’s of Melanoma

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Learn and recognize the signs of melanoma.

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Download Dr. Mejia’s brochure about Melanoma: Melanoma ABCDE’s

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Please share this information with your friends to bring awareness of this deadly disease.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Don’t delay. Get your mole check now.

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Melanoma Awareness Month

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May is Melanoma Awareness Month. May 4th is Melanoma Monday. It is a month where we will be sharing stories and awareness of this deadly disease. The Melanoma Research Foundation has a campaign called #GetNaked . You simply get naked in front of the mirror and do a self skin exam. They are encouraging everyone to share. By sharing the link of this post, the image will show up in your share.

Dr. Mejia will be on WPBF25 News on Monday to speak about melanoma. So if you are local in the Palm Beach area, stay tuned in the news.

If you are on Twitter, on Monday, May 4th the non-profit, Aim At Melanoma will be having a Twitter chat at 8PM EST. All you have to do is follow the hashtag #melanomamonday all day and especially at 8PM where they will be discussing the Melanoma Tissue Bank.


We also compiled some stories and resources from the hashtag #melanomaawarenessmonth from Twitter and Instagram below.

Most importantly, Dr. Mejia’s number one priority is to wear your sunblock. He compiled the ABCDE’s of Melanoma so you know what to watch for.

melanoma-facts-abcd Continue reading “Melanoma Awareness Month”

Melanoma Symptoms : 10 Yr Old Discovers a Spot in Her Moms Hair

A friend of Dr Mejia’s in Dallas shares her melanoma story. Her daughter was brushing her hair one day and found a spot in her scalp thinking it was hair dye. Her mother had her take a picture of it and went to the dermatologist the next day who immediately did a biopsy and was then diagnosed with melanoma.

Dr Mejia urges everyone to know the ABCD’s of melanoma symptoms so you are educated ahead of time in case of an unforseeable situation just like what happened to Lynn. Her hairdresser had seen that spot for five years and didn’t think it was anything abnormal.

In this video, Dr. Mejia explains the symptoms of melanoma and the brochure above gives you a good visual so you know how to spot.

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Melanoma Of The Nail Bed – What’s Hiding Under Your Nails?

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Melanoma nail beds are a rare type of skin cancer that can often go misdiagnosed in those who keep nails covered in polish. As our practice takes a hair to toe approach, we recommend removing polish prior to your annual skin check for the best evaluation and prevention of skin cancer.

They are typically diagnosed later in life (ages 40-70) and can be easily mistaken for nail bed trauma, bruising under the nail, or nail fungus. Such nail abnormalities should be watched closely to ensure a melanoma does not get missed.

Melanoma nail beds tend to be thicker when diagnosed when compared with other melanomas, making treatment more in depth. The Skin Cancer Foundation has developed the CUBE acronym to help know what to look for and when to go see a specialist:

C-Colored lesions
U-Uncertain Diagnosis
B-Bleeding under the nail/ Beefy red tissue
E-Enlargement
D-Delay in healing beyond 2 months

Let us know if you have any questions about the health of your nails.

Skin Cancer Self Treatment Risks

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Skin cancer self treatment options are becoming more accessible online and the unsuspecting patient’s purchasing them have no idea how hazardous it really can be instead of beneficial.

Dr. Adam Friedman, Director of Dermatological Research at Einstein College of Medicine in NY, explains it best:

  • Now there is evidence that some of the treatment products found online may be helpful if used purposefully, safely and in the right way.
  • But when people find these treatments over the Internet and don’t know what they’re getting or what they’re doing, it can be very dangerous.
  • Medicine is not about throwing a dart at a dartboard and hoping for the best,” he said. “Because while you may end up treating a cancer, you may also end up burning a hole through your face.

Continue reading “Skin Cancer Self Treatment Risks”

Solar Keratosis Explained By Dr. Mejia

Solar Keratosis also known as Actinic Keratosis are precancerous cells that have a possibility of developing into Squamous Carcinoma.

It is important to  keep an eye on any symptoms and take care of these is because over time you are taking prevention from developing another skin caner. At Jupiter Dermatology we have a plethora of preventative therapy with various different treatments in an effort to reduce the amount of precancerous skin cells that exist on the face, arms, chest, back and other multiple areas they can be found.

The treatments for Solar Keratosis or Actinic Keratosis to help reduce the precancerous cells are some of the following:

  • Blue Light
  • Photo Dynamic Therapy (Explained in detail in this blog post)
  • Creams available at Jupiter Dermatology
  • Chemical Peels

Dr. Mejia tells his patients to think of their skin as a car engine. Many people do treatment once and think it will be enough. However if you want to keep your car in good condition, you must check the oil often times throughout the year. The same applies to your skin, depending on your history and the procedures you have done.  You and your dermatologist have to decide how many times it is necessary to check your skin. It may be only once a year or it may have to be four times a year, but it is in your best interest to have your skin as a top priority.

To prevent the progression of Solar Keratosis into Squamous cell carcinoma, at Jupiter Dermatology we advocate preventative and aggressive treatments in order to reduce that risk so hopefully you do not need to have surgery in the future.

Hugh Jackman Skin Cancer & Urging Fans To Be Safe

Skin cancer is no joke. Hugh Jackman recently shared an Instagram picture of his nose bandaged from a skin cancer surgery. He urged his fans to wear sunscreen. Luckily, he got it checked on time after his wife urged him to. It was basal cell carcinoma. This was the second time Hugh Jackman skin cancer was diagnosed. See below the Instagram picture from November, 2013.

If the Wolverine can get skin cancer so can you.  No one can escape the damaging rays of the sun. Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer and can be prevented by just simply wearing Sunblock SPF 30 daily and protective clothing. There are an estimated 2.8 million cases of BCC diagnosed in the US each year. In fact, it is the most frequently occurring form of all cancers. It shouldn’t be taken lightly: this skin cancer can be disfiguring if not treated promptly.

 

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6 months ago:

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It is important on the nose to preserve normal tissue margins utilizing the Mohs technique. This gives you a higher cure rate and lower chance of recurrence. Immediately following the Mohs, Dr Mejia does the plastic surgery reconstruction as is demonstrated on this patient in the video below. This is the type of result that is similarly done on the nose like Hugh Jackman. Continue reading “Hugh Jackman Skin Cancer & Urging Fans To Be Safe”

Melanoma Monday

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Every year, May 5th is Melanoma Monday. In an effort to educate the public on this deadly disease, The American Academy of Dermatology has created some public service announcements to educate you in early prevention.

Here are Melanoma statistics:

  • On average, one American dies from melanoma every hour. In 2014, it is estimated that 9,710 deaths will be attributed to melanoma.
  • Melanoma is the most common cancer for young adults 25 to 29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15-29 years old
  • When caught early, skin cancer – including melanoma – is highly treatable. The five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 98 percent.

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[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]Download the Mole Map: Mole Map from AAD

Download Dr. Mejia’s ABCDE’s of Melanoma 

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The American Academy of Dermatology also has created an online quiz to Spot Skin Cancer to test your knowledge.  Prevention is key. If you see any signs,  please get checked right away. Dr. Mejia is a Mohs skin cancer surgeon and one of the only MD’s in the nation that is Board Certified in dermatology and dermatologic surgery. Be safe and stay covered.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Melanoma In Children On The Rise

 

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Photo Credit: Chron.com Article Source

Although small in number,  melanoma in children has risen by two percent between 1973 and 2009 from a total of less than 250 a year to about 500 now.

According to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, these are the warning signs for pediatric melanoma:

  • Skin: A bump that itches and bleeds.
  • Blemish: Any blemish that looks like a wart, without pigment or a pinkish color
  • Lesion: Lighter colored amelanotic lesions.
  • Moles: Any odd-looking moles, especially those larger in size.
  • Different: A mole that looks different from your child’s other moles.
  • Info: Remember these easy clues to moles that may be problematic: asymmetry, border irregularity, color, diameter (larger than 1/4 inch) and elevation.

The Houston Chronicle shared a story of a six year old girl who was diagnosed with pediatric melanoma. At first, they thought it was a wart or a pimple, but when it did not get better after treatment, the Doctor found that it was Melanoma. Thankfully, she is now in remission.

Unfortunately, melanomas in children do occur and for this reason, it is important to protect your children’s skin. Most importantly, avoid sunburns as this can increase the risk.  This is the purpose of the Hunt for Melanoma campaign. It is an opportunity for us to be aware of what a melanoma looks like and take a close inspection of the moles on our body.  View the ABCD’s and a downloadable brochure to get your first hand education on melanomas.