Who’s at Risk for Skin Cancer?

While skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, early diagnosis and treatment offer excellent results and cure rates. Ideally, however, the best response to skin cancer is avoiding it when you can.

Well-known for his skills as a board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Alexander Stein is also a top-level skin cancer specialist and Mohs surgeon with a busy practice in Chula Vista, California. He’s committed to providing his patients with the most effective skin cancer treatments available.

Dr. Stein is also happy to offer information regarding your risks and the early warning signs, as well as practical steps you can take to help prevent skin cancer.

Identifying your risk of skin cancer

Like other cancer types, skin cancer causes the abnormal growth of cells and often occurs on body areas that see the most sun exposure. It can, however, also develop under your fingernails or toenails and in other areas typically covered by clothing.

Thus, excessive sun exposure during work activities, sports events, and various outdoor hobbies does significantly increase your risk of developing skin cancer.

Other factors that increase your risk of skin cancer include:

Exposure to toxic substances in the environment, such as arsenic or radiation therapy, can also increase your risk of skin cancer.

How can I tell if a skin lesion is cancerous?

A biopsy is needed to determine if a lesion is cancerous. Thus, we typically recommend you schedule a visit with Dr. Stein for a skin exam whenever you have concerns, especially if you have known risk factors.

There are, however, several signs you can watch for that may indicate a cancerous lesion, including:

It’s important to remember that not all skin cancers produce obvious lumps, bumps, or sores.

One type (basal cell), for instance, may appear as a flat, flesh-colored area that resembles a scar. Actinic keratoses, which are precancerous lesions, typically look like a patch of dry skin that feels rough and scaly.

Preventing skin cancer

There are several easy steps you can take to help prevent skin cancer, most of which are related to protecting your skin from prolonged sun exposure, including:

Also be sure to read side effect information and follow directions carefully when taking antibiotics and various other medications or using certain skin care products, since many increase your sensitivity to the burning effects of the sun.

Otherwise, give your skin the preventive protection it deserves by scheduling an exam at Stein Dermatology and Skin Surgery today.

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