Skin Cancer Awareness Month:
How Important is It? Listen to the Experts.
This year, skin cancer awareness has taken on greater significance than ever before. Concerns about how COVID-19 might have impacted skin cancer detection and treatment led a team of elite dermatologists and dermatology researchers, including several from Advanced Dermatology to determine that in 2020 about a million skin cancers went undiagnosed, including melanoma – skin cancer’s deadliest kind.
Results of this critical study were published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology in January, and shine a spotlight on why Total-Body Skin Cancer Exams are more essential than ever.
Schedule your annual Total-Body Skin Cancer Examsm and encourage those you love to schedule theirs, too.
BOOK ONLINE 800.647.9851
An Expert Assessment: “Cute” Freckles Can Add More than Character
“Throughout my life, I heard about the importance of sunscreen and what SPF was,” said Heather, an active mother of three. “I always wore what I thought was ‘enough’ SPF. Then, my mom went to a dermatologist for a routine total-body skin cancer exam. And she was diagnosed with melanoma. We were shocked. She hardly ever went out in the sun, we thought.
“I, on the other hand, even with my fair skin and hair, did. As a result, I had tons of freckles and moles I thought were cute and added character. Little did I know they were adding much more than that. After my mother’s diagnosis, I decided it was time for me to get a total-body skin cancer exam at the Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery office in Heathrow, which resulted in having a couple biopsies, and quickly learned those cute freckles were up to no good. I had a melanoma on my back. And while the spot was small, the area that had to be excised was pretty generous.
“Hearing you have melanoma is scary. I had never really understood the importance of dermatology before. I quickly learned what an important role a great dermatology team can play in your overall health and wellness, and how important it is to be proactive in getting your exams. The staff at Advanced Dermatology helped me understand my diagnosis and feel less scared.
“I kept up on my exams, and three years later had biopsies performed on spots on both of my arms. The spot I was concerned about turned out to be nothing. The one I wasn’t really worried turned out to be another melanoma. “Lucky for me, I was ahead of the game, and this time, we caught it early.
“Now, I know I’m at increased risk for future melanomas, so my follow ups will be more frequent.”
The Experts Know: The Sun WILL Come Out Tomorrow
Virginia, who recently celebrated her 50th anniversary, has enjoyed time in the sun her whole life. “I have fair hair and freckles, and as a kid I’d get really, really burned. I play tennis, I like golf and enjoy being out in the yard. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing, fishing or working outdoors, you’re getting the same UV rays and need protection. The sun is not particular. It just comes up every day.
“When I went to see my dermatologist in Pensacola, she recommended a Total-Body Skin Cancer Exam. I found out I had a bad situation. It was a shock. On my right leg, I had a melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, about the size of a pinhead. On my left leg was a basal cell carcinoma. They were both removed. A year later, I had another basal cell carcinoma, this time on my right leg.
“After my first results, I sent my husband and son to see my doctor and called my daughter and told her to get checked. My doctor is very caring and thorough, and gives you all the options. I like that.”
Our Experience Helps Make Our Patients' Experience Better
“Advanced Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery had (skin cancer exams) on Melanoma Monday. I went in to check the moles on my face and back. The staff at the front desk, Regina, was very professional and nice and I felt welcome. The medical staff was very caring and professional. The medical assistant, Caritta, took me back to my room and she made me feel comfortable about my visit as if she knew me. Dr. Robinson was great! I felt really good about my visit and I want to come back for more services. Thank you."
Get to Be More Expert at Recognizing Melanoma Risk Factors
- Age - The rates of melanoma have been rising rapidly over the past few decades, and the risk increases as people age. The average age of people at diagnosis is 65. However, melanoma is not uncommon even among those under 30, and is one of the most common cancers in young adults (especially young women).
- Race - Melanoma is more than 20 times more common in Whites than African Americans, especially in those people with light hair, blue or green eyes and light skin that freckles or burns easily.
- Gender - Melanoma is more common in men overall, but before age 50 the rates are higher in women.
- Ultraviolet Light Exposure - Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays is a major risk factor for most melanomas. Sunlight is the main source of UV rays, but exposure can be intensified by using tanning beds and sun lamps.
- Family History of Melanoma – The risk of melanoma is higher if one or more of your first-degree relatives (parents, brothers, sisters, or children) has had melanoma. Around 10% of all people with melanoma have a family history of the disease. The increased risk might be because of a shared family lifestyle of frequent sun exposure, a family tendency to have fair skin, certain gene changes (mutations) that run in a family, or a combination of these factors.
- Personal History of Melanoma or Other Skin Cancers – Those who have had melanoma, or other skin cancers such as basal or squamous cell carcinoma are at higher risk of getting melanoma again.
- History of Breast Cancer – there is a reciprocal increase in the risk for melanoma if you have had breast cancer and vice versa.
- Weakened Immune System - People with weakened immune systems (from certain diseases or medical treatments) are more likely to develop many types of skin cancer, including melanoma.
What's Your Skin Hiding?
Skin cancer didn’t take a break due to COVID-19. If you’re due for your annual total-body skin cancer exam, book it now and get it on your calendar. Don't forget to encourage those you love to get theirs, too. We’re taking strict safety measures to protect your health so you can have the peace of mind you want to get the care you need.
BOOK ONLINE 800.647.9851