October 03, 2017
On Oct 1, the Journal Tribune published a column, “Skin Cancer can be Sneaky,” by Nancy Baugh, Ph.D., ANP, associate professor in the Department of Nursing.
In the article, Baugh notes that there are different types of skin cancer. The two most common types are basal and squamous cell cancers, both of which are very curable when treated early. Melanoma is the least common and most dangerous type.
Risk factors for all types of skin cancer include blond or red hair, blue or green eyes, smoking, certain kinds of viruses, radiation exposure and a history of numerous blistering sunburns.
According to Baugh, the American Cancer Society and the American Academy of Dermatology suggest that everyone perform a full-body skin self-examination (SSE) every month. She recommends that “you should examine your entire body for sores, spots or moles, keeping in mind the A, B, C, D and E Rule.” “A” stands for asymmetrical. Look for moles or spots with an irregular shape. “B” stands for border. Examine spots or moles with a jagged appearing border. “C” means is color. Be on the lookout for spots or moles that have changed color over time or are not evenly colored. “D” is for diameter. Make note of anything larger than the size of a pea. “E” stands for evolving. Watch for any kind of changes in the appearance of your spots and moles.
Baugh explains that one’s health care provider can biopsy any suspicious looking lesions. Basal and squamous cell cancers are often treated with minor surgery, cryotherapy, laser therapy or chemical ointments. More extensive surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation may be required for melanoma.
To prevent skin cancer, Baugh recommends avoiding sun exposure whenever possible and wearing adequate amounts of sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher).
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