Skin cancer is one of the most common yet quite dangerous cancers found in Americans. Unlike other diseases or conditions, which are relatively easy to spot with a sudden feeling of pain or discomfort, skin cancer is much harder to diagnose yourself.
It is often mistaken to be a harmless spot or mole. That is why it is crucial to stay aware of all skin cancer symptoms and if you start noticing any, visit a doctor right away. Thankfully, there are various options available when it comes to skin cancer treatment, so you need not worry about it too much. We’ll briefly describe some of those treatments below.
Types of Skin Cancer Treatment
Depending on the type of skin cancer, its location, its growth, and other similar factors, your doctor could recommend a range of skin cancer treatments. Here are some of them.
- Simple Excision: This involves cutting the cancerous tumor along with some healthy cells from the skin.
- Mohs Surgery: In this procedure, the tumor is removed from the skin by cutting away thin layers of the skin at a time while checking through a microscope. This skin cancer treatment is used when the mole or tumor is located on the face, genitals or doesn’t have a distinct border.
- Shave Excision: The area with the tumor is shaved off the skin with the help of a blade.
- Curettage and Electrodesiccation: Also known as electrosurgery, this procedure involves cutting away the tumor with a curette. Then, a needle-shaped electrode sends an electric current to stop any bleeding and kill any remaining cancerous cells in the skin.
- Cryosurgery: Also known as cryotherapy, this skin cancer treatment involves freezing and then destroying the cancer cells.
- Laser Surgery: This procedure uses a beam of intense laser light as a very sharp knife to cut away cancerous tissues or surface lesions.
- Dermabrasion: In this skin cancer treatment, your doctor will use small particles or a rotating wheel to remove the top layer of skin and remove any potentially dangerous cells.
- Radiation Therapy: Usually used to treat Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC), radiation therapy is used to send high-energy x-rays that help kill the cancerous cells or stop them from spreading further.
- Chemotherapy: This skin cancer treatment involves drugs to stop the skin cancer cells from spreading. This kind of treatment for BCC and SCC usually involves topical application.
- Photodynamic Therapy: This procedure involves injecting a drug and then using a special light to activate the drug, which then kills the cancerous cells in the skin.
Skin Cancer Prevention
Just because you have numerous options for skin cancer treatment does not mean that you should simply let go of all precautions. As they say, prevention is better than cure, and this could not be truer in this case.
Whether you’ve had skin cancer in the past or not, whether it’s in your family history or not, or regardless of any other contributing factor to skin cancer, you should always take the appropriate preventative measures on your own.
So now that you know about skin cancer treatment, it’s time to learn about skin cancer prevention, which is even more crucial.
Avoid the Sun During Peak Hours
The sun is one of the leading causes of skin cancer and can do a lot of damage in as little as 15 minutes. Therefore, you should avoid going out in direct sun as much as possible. If you must go out for any reason, try avoiding the peak hours from 10 am to 4 pm as that is when the UV rays from the sun are the strongest and most deadly. Finally, if you can’t avoid going out specifically during those times, make sure you are properly covered and protected.
Always Wear Sunscreen
One way to protect yourself from the sun is by using sunscreen. These can help prevent the UV rays from penetrating too deep into your skin, thereby limiting their damage. When choosing a sunscreen, make sure it has a high SPF, especially if you tend to burn easily.
Moreover, the sunscreen should have a broad spectrum to protect you from UVA as well as UVB rays. Apply the sunscreen generously on your face as well as all parts of the body that will be exposed to the skin. Apply the sunscreen at least 15 minutes before heading out in the sun and keep reapplying every two hours.
Wear Protective Clothes and Accessories
If you plan to stay outdoor for a longer time, consider wearing full sleeves and long clothing that properly covers all parts of your body. You can choose a light material that will help you stay cool as well as protect you from the sun. Moreover, along with the clothes, wear shades to protect your eyes and a wide-brim hat to properly shade your face from the UV rays.
Avoid Tanning Beds
We all love a nice tan but getting one through indoor tanning beds can be quite dangerous. These machines also use UV lights that can be harmful to your skin and lead to higher chances of developing skin cancer symptoms.
Stay Aware of Skin Cancer Symptoms
The strongest tool in your arsenal for a fight against skin cancer is knowledge. Therefore, make sure you read about all the skin cancer symptoms, types of skin cancers, causes, and other contributing factors.
Whether it’s skin cancer treatment or skin cancer prevention, it all starts with you. Your doctor won’t be able to treat you till you go to them, and you won’t be able to prevent skin cancer till you learn about all the different ways.
The good news is that you are headed in the right direction, considering that you’re here reading this blog. If you notice any skin cancer symptoms on your body, visit your doctor right away.