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Skin Cancer – Treatment and Prevention

Skin Cancer – Treatment and Prevention

 

Skin cancer prevention - Skin Cancer – Treatment and Prevention

 

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 SurgeryIn 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.
  • DermabrasionIn 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.

Final Thoughts

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.

7 Tips for Choosing the Right Dermatologist

 

A Dermatologist - 7 Tips for Choosing the Right Dermatologist

 

Your skin is the largest organ of your body, and despite what many people might believe, it serves an important function in maintaining a healthy body. It might not be pumping blood or sending signals to the rest of your body, but it does play a huge role in protecting you.

That said, just as you would spend time finding and choosing the right doctor for any heart or stomach-related concerns, you need to find the right dermatologist to effectively address all your skin-related concerns as well. Here are seven tips for choosing the right dermatologist for yourself.

 

1. Consider Your Needs

Since the whole idea is to find a dermatologist that is right for you, you need to start by assessing your own needs. Why exactly are you looking to consult a dermatologist? Your precise skin concerns or needs could fall into three categories: medical, surgical, and cosmetic.

While all three are meant to improve the appearance of the skin, they tackle different skin concerns. Not all dermatologists will be experienced or skilled in providing all three types of dermatology services.

Certain dermatologists specialize in only medical dermatology, while some excel at providing cosmetic dermatology services. Medical dermatology usually caters to skin concerns such as cystic acne or rosacea. Surgical dermatology usually covers the removal of tumors or melanoma.

Cosmetic dermatology covers skin treatments, like Botox and face sculpting, that aim to reverse signs of aging or make aesthetic changes in the face. Once you know what your needs are and where they fall, you can significantly shorten the list of potential dermatologists for you.

2. Consider Your Skin Color

Another important factor to consider when choosing a dermatologist is the color of your skin. Sometimes, people with certain skin colors deal with skin problems that are unique to them. Therefore, it makes sense to go to a dermatologist that deals with or is well experienced in treating people of that color.

In addition to that, even if it’s just a general skin concern, like hyperpigmentation, or something common, like Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), it is still important to consult a dermatologist who knows their way around different skin colors and types as these differences can lead to different treatments as well.

3. Check Their Credentials

When you are searching for ‘best doctors to remove skin cancer near me’, make sure to check their credentials. By doing so, they can know for sure if they have basic information about dermatology and if they have gone through extensive training and experience to gain valuable skills meant for treating various skin concerns.

Therefore, check the board certification of any dermatologist you are considering. This even lets you know if the dermatologist has had any malpractice cases before or of any other disciplinary history.

4. Look at Reviews and Referrals

Along with their board certification, another thing that greatly attests to a dermatologist’s skills and expertise is their previous patients’ reviews. Go through what other people have to say about that dermatologist and their services.

Look for reviews that reveal information about the dermatologist and highlight any additional features such as their welcoming office, after-hours care, or hidden fees. However, don’t trust the reviews completely. It’s always good to take them with a grain of salt.

Besides that, referrals are also an excellent starting point if you can’t find any good dermatologists on your own. Ask your primary care doctor or even friends and family for dermatologist referrals.

5. Consider Their Experience

Experience also speaks volumes about a dermatologist’s skills and expertise. Between a dermatologist who has been practicing for just two years and one who has been in the field for more than 20 years, you would definitely find yourself trusting the latter more.

This is because there are certain things and knowledge that you pick up only over the course of time. Moreover, don’t just look at their overall experience; you must also but consider their experience within their specialty or with the specific skin concern you have.

6. Check Your Insurance Policy

Another factor that can help you narrow down your choices is your insurance coverage. Most medical insurance policies don’t cover all types of skin and dermatology treatments. Therefore, after assessing your needs, you should check with your coverage provider if that service is covered under your insurance.

If not, you might have to compare your options based on how much you can pay yourself. Most insurance policies cover basic treatments, like acne treatment as well as skin cancer screenings, but they might not cover cosmetic dermatology services.

7. Evaluate After the First Appointment

Going to a dermatologist is not like signing a lifelong contract that you can’t ever break. Sometimes, it takes a few wrong turns to eventually find the right dermatologist. Therefore, if you do go for a first appointment, evaluate your experience afterward.

How attentive were they? How did they make you feel about your skin? Was their clinic welcoming? Did they give you ample time? If you find yourself not satisfied with their level of care, you can cancel the next appointment and begin your search again.

Final Thoughts

While a simple pimple may not seem serious enough to warrant all that effort to find the right dermatologist, there are other skin concerns that do. For instance, certain types of skin cancers can be quite dangerous and need to be treated right away.

Rather than panicking at the last moment and frantically searching for the ‘best doctors to remove skin cancer near me,’ we suggest using these tips for choosing the right dermatologist right now and scheduling a visit with an experienced and certified dermatologist right away.

Everything You Need to Know About Laser Hair Removal

 

Hair Removal - Everything You Need to Know About Laser Hair Removal

There are a few things more torturous than sitting through a session of waxing or shaving your legs every morning to get rid of your body hair. If you’re sick and tired of these painful and short-lived hair removal methods, then we recommend a new method— laser hair removal.

Laser hair removal is a method that is gaining a lot of traction these days. It’s effective, painless, and has long-lasting results. Now before you start searching for ‘laser hair removal near me’, there are a few things you need to know.

Here’s everything you need to know about laser hair removal.

 

How It Works

Unlike waxing or tweezing, where you pull the hair out by the follicle, or shaving, which cuts the hair by the skin, laser hair removal targets the very hair follicle itself. It involves using a laser that emits highly concentrated pulses of light on the area with unwanted hair.

The hair follicles contain pigment or melanin that absorbs this light. The light energy then turns into heat, which damages hair follicles, inhibiting, or delaying their ability to produce hair again. While it’s a pretty simple and straightforward process, it does carry some risks.

If not done correctly, it can cause burns and hyperpigmentation. So, your best bet is to go for certified and experienced dermatologists who know what they’re doing. Rather than searching for ‘laser hair removal near me’ and choosing the first option that pops up, do a bit of research on the dermatologist or their practice.

Besides that, laser light may look cool, but it can be dangerous as well. So, you should avoid getting extensive laser hair removal sessions at a time. The laser can also be extremely harmful to the eyes, so remember to protect them with adequate eye protection.

Types of Laser Treatments

Again, unlike waxing and shaving, which is pretty must the same across people of different colors and hair types, laser treatments can vary for different people. Since the laser actually targets the pigment of the hair follicle, people who have very light-colored hair or dark skin can find the usual laser treatments to be ineffective at times.

That’s why for people who have fairer skin, dermatologists tend to use laser lights with a shorter wavelength, while darker-skinned people can benefit more from longer wavelength lasers.

Furthermore, some lasers do tend to have some cooling mechanism that can burn darker-skinned people, so make sure your doctor is using the right kind of laser treatment according to your skin and hair type.

How Long It Takes

How long a session takes depends on the area you’re targeting. For instance, laser hair removal on the lips might not take more than ten minutes. However, when covering a larger area, such as the legs, it could take up to a couple of hours.

This is because laser hair removal is quite a precise process. It targets around a quarter of an inch of skin at a time and burns all the hair follicles. That’s why the time each session takes depends on the area being covered. Besides that, the entire treatment itself can last about six months or four to six sessions.

It’s Not Entirely Painless

One of the most important questions when it comes to laser hair removal is whether it is painless. The answer is that it is, and it isn’t. Of course, if you compare it to the pain from waxing or the razor burns from shaving, laser hair removal is somewhat painless.

However, it is not entirely painless. You will feel some discomfort when the laser zaps your follicles. The good part is that most dermatologists use some cooling spray or mist to counter that discomfort, and overall, the experience is not too painful.

Results

The key to seeing good results from laser hair removal is consistency. You might not notice any jaw-dropping results after the first session, but if you keep at it, you will eventually see a significant drop in the growth of your hair. At the very least, you will need three sessions to see any remarkable results.

Cost

Laser hair removal is definitely expensive. The larger the area, the more it costs to treat it with laser, and when you multiply it by the number of sessions, it can cost a lot. However, you need to think of laser hair removal as an investment. It might cost you a lot right now but think of all the money you would save by not going for waxing sessions, buying razors or shaving creams, etc., in the future.

How to Prepare for a Laser Hair Removal Session

A laser hair removal session also requires some preparation beforehand. Here’s what you need to know:

  • You need to shave the area before going for the session so that the laser can easily target the follicle.
  • Avoid waxing or tweezing before the session, as it will pull out the follicle and make the laser ineffective.
  • When opting for laser treatment on your face, make sure to remove all your makeup, or else it can interfere with the treatment or even cause burns and spots.
  • Avoid the sun, tanning beds, or tanning lotions before the session, as it can make it hard to differentiate between your normal skin and the hair follicle.
  • Inform your doctor beforehand if you are taking any medications as certain antibiotics are sensitive to light and can react to the laser treatment.
  • Make sure to do a patch test first to check for any reactions.

Final Thoughts

While it is entirely okay to let your natural body hair grow, if you are the type of person who prefers smooth and hairless skin, laser hair removal is an excellent option.

Moreover, now that you know everything you need to know about laser hair removal, making the decision shouldn’t be too hard. Just remember to prepare for the session beforehand and consult an experienced dermatologist for ‘laser hair removal near me’.

How to Spot Skin Cancer

 

Skin cancer symptoms - How to Spot Skin Cancer

 

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer found in the United States. Skin cancer is always hard to spot because it can start off as an innocent birthmark or mole. However, depending on the type of skin cancer it is, it can quickly spread to other body parts and organs. That’s why it is so important to catch any signs of it early on when there are still high chances of successful treatment.

Now, as much as we wish it were possible, it’s not quite feasible to rush over to your dermatologist every time you notice a new spot, mole, or even freckle on your body. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of skin cancer symptoms so that you always know how to spot skin cancer.

Types of Skin Cancer

Before we actually get into discussing how to spot skin cancer, it’s important to know the different types of it. This is because different types of skin cancer result in different skin cancer symptoms.

More importantly, certain types of skin cancer are more dangerous than the rest, and that’s why if you notice any such signs, you will need to rush to your dermatologist right away. There are three main types of skin cancer that account for more than 99% of the cases. These are:

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

Affecting more than four million people each year, BCC is a common type of skin cancer. It is named after the cells where it begins, and in this case, it’s the basal cells. This type of cancer usually develops on those parts of your body that are exposed to the sun, such as the face, arms, neck, back, etc. However, this doesn’t mean that BCC can’t develop in other areas that never see sunlight.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

Less common but more serious than BCC, SCC also develops in the keratinocyte cells. Additionally, similar to BCC, this type of skin cancer also often develops on sun-exposed areas but is not entirely limited there.

Melanoma

This is the most serious type of skin cancer, which you need to be aware of. What makes this so dangerous is that this cancer grows in the same cells that produce moles on your body. That’s why people often confuse signs of melanoma with being a harmless mole and nothing more.

Skin Cancer Symptoms

Skin cancer symptoms are often confused with other innocuous marks on your body, and that is what makes it so dangerous. However, if you happen to have a history of skin cancer or it runs in your family, you need to be extra conscious and aware of its signs.

Here are some skin cancer symptoms you should look out for according to the types of skin cancer:

BCC Symptoms

If you have BCC, you may notice a pearly or waxy bump on the sun-exposed area of your body. It could be raised or flat and can appear to be flesh-like or a brown scar-like lesion.

Sometimes, it can also manifest in the form of bleeding, scabbing, or open sore that won’t heal or would heal but keep coming back again and again. Another common symptom of BCC is a raised reddish patch that is always itchy. BCC can also appear as a pinkish growth with a lower center area and raised edges with blood vessels spreading out.

SCC Symptoms

When checking for SCC, the skin cancer symptoms might appear as scaly or rough red patches, which might also bleed or crust. You might notice raised lumps or abnormal growth with raised edges and low centers. In addition to that, similar to BCC, you might notice open sores that may be crusted or oozing and don’t heal, or heal but come back.

Melanoma Symptoms

Melanoma can develop anywhere on the skin, whether it is exposed to the sun or not. Although, sun exposure can affect the chances of melanoma. In women, melanoma usually develops on the lower part of the legs, and in men, it occurs on the face or trunk. This type of cancer can develop on normal skin or in moles already present on the body.

When it comes to spotting skin cancer symptoms for melanoma, you have to remember the ABCDE rule:

  • Asymmetry: The birthmark or mole won’t be symmetrical, with one end not matching the other.
  • Border: The border of the birthmark or mole will be notched, irregular, blurred, or ragged.
  • Color: The color won’t be the same throughout. You will notice various shades of black or brown.
  • Diameter: The diameter of the spot or mole would be larger than ¼ of an inch, although melanomas can be smaller than this, too.
  • Evolving: The mole or spot would keep evolving over time, changing in shape, color, size, etc.

Other Symptoms

Skin cancer can appear differently on everyone’s skin. Therefore, even if you don’t spot any skin cancer symptoms mentioned above, you shouldn’t consider yourself entirely safe. There are other symptoms as well, which you need to keep in mind.

  • New spots
  • A unique spot that is entirely different than all the rest
  • A sore that isn’t healing
  • Redness beyond the border of a mole
  • Changing surface of a mole

Final Words

Now that you know about the different types of skin cancers, their symptoms, and how to spot skin cancer, make sure you keep a close eye on any new developments on your body at all times.

Do a thorough checkup of your body every time you get out of the shower, making sure to check your back, under your legs, and all areas that are exposed to the sun. Ask your partner to check any hard-to-see places. Most importantly, if you notice any dangerous or suspicious spots, make sure you get them checked right away.

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