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S.K. Saini, MD
Which Of These Are Skin Cancer?
MD Dermatology & Laser Center

Which Of These Are Skin Cancer?

Summer is here and as you look forward to vacations and fun-in-the-sun, it's important to remember the most dangerous form of skin cancer and what you can do to keep you and your family safe.

Melanoma is responsible for nearly all deaths from skin cancer. It's the most common form of cancer found in people 25-29 years old, but makes up only a small percentage of all skin cancers; however, it kills the largest number of people.

Melanoma can grow anywhere on your body and it can hide under fingernails and toenails, between the toes, on the palms of the hands, on the soles of the feet and in the scalp, among other places. The main causes of melanoma are UV light from the sun or tanning beds.

Melanoma doesn't discriminate, but people with fair skin, sun-sensitive skin or a family history of skin cancer are at greater risk of developing melanoma. Unfortunately, most people don't realize that 80% of sun damage happens in childhood and can lead to skin cancer in adulthood. This is why it's so important to be vigilant with sun screen in childhood. On hot summer days, limit sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but if you must be out, wear sunscreen and reapply every 30 minutes even on cloudy days. Finally, remember that sunglasses are not just for fashion, as melanoma can develop in the eyes as well.

Developing a long-term relationship with a dermatologist that is an expert in diseases of the skin, hair and nails is key to early detection and treatment. A dermatologist can carefully map and measure the moles on your body on a yearly basis, so changes in moles can be easily identified and quickly treated. Best of all, it's covered by most insurance, and with early detection, the cure rate approaches 100%. So make seeing a dermatologist regularly a family affair and enjoy your summer with confidence.

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