No one wants to spend their every waking hour indoors, afraid to venture out into the sun. But truth be told, every time you’re out in the sun, you’re increasing your chances of developing skin cancer.
Of course, you need to apply 30 spf sunscreen whenever you go outdoors, particularly for longer periods of time, such as when you’re swimming, or on a long bike ride, or golfing. Still, your body will be receiving ultraviolet rays from the sun; those are the rays that trigger the development of skin cancer.
There are three types of skin cancer, and it is wise for everyone in Texas to know the difference between them.
Basil cell carcinoma — Basil cell carcinomas usually occur on areas of the body that are frequently exposed to the sun such as your neck and face. They show themselves either as reddish patches on your skin that stay crusty and won’t heal, or as flesh-colored or brown scar-like lesions. Basil cell carcinomas form on the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin. Basil cell growths are slow-growing and usually are easily addressed if detected early.
Squamous cell carcinoma — This type of skin cancer forms in the squamous cells, which are flat cells on the surface of the skin. Like basil cell growths, squamous cell carcinomas occur where the body receives direct sunlight. It also has a tendency to develop in people with darker skin tones. The growths look like a hard, reddish bump on the skin, an open sore that bleeds, or a scaly patch.
Melanoma — This is the M word, the skin cancer that kills the most people because it can metastasize and spread throughout the body. Melanoma often appears on the face or trunk of men, and the legs of women, but it can develop anywhere, even on skin that isn’t exposed to the sun. For melanoma, watch for a mole that changes size, color, or bleeds. New dark spots on the skin, brown or black streaks underneath a fingernail or toenail. Even a bruise on the foot that won’t seem to go away. Melanoma is dangerous because it can grow downward and start depositing cancer cells into the bloodstream, where they can then end up anywhere in the body.
When you get the amount of sun that we do in Texas, you need to pay attention to the possibility of developing skin cancer. At Creative Image Laser Solutions, we will detect and treat your skin cancer, but you need to come see us first. Call for an appointment, 325-641-1927.