Abrams Dermatology Spreads the Skin Cancer Awareness through Early Detection
May 01, 2016 02:02AM
by Bradley Abrams, DO
May is designated as National Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and the team at Abrams Dermatology raises awareness about skin cancer by helping people throughout our community prevent and detect skin cancer on a daily basis.
At which point should you consult a dermatologist regarding a mole on your body? If you notice any changes in that mole, this could indicate a serious problem. So, visit your dermatologist if a mole or skin lesion enlarges, changes color or develops irregular borders. Other warning signs include itching, crusting, pain and bleeding. Extensive and potentially disfiguring operations can often be avoided by prompt surgical removal, specialized freezing of the area, chemical application or laser treatment.
The three main types of skin cancer are Basal Cell Cancer, the most common and least serious, Squamous Cell Cancer and Malignant Melanoma, the most serious. Basal Cell Cancer typically appears as a shiny, small lump on sun-exposed areas of the skin. Individuals who frequently spend time outdoors without UVA/UVB protection will commonly develop this disease. Although basal tumors grow slowly, they can reach a large size and penetrate deeply if left untreated. They often bleed, develop a crust, appear to heal then start bleeding again. However, with early detection, Basal Cell Cancers exhibit a high cure rate and can easily be treated through minor out-patient surgery.
Squamous Cell Cancer typically originates as a lump or scaly red growth. When left untreated, Squamous Cell Cancer can spread and even cause death. Therefore, it’s important to consult a dermatologist immediately if you suspect that a lesion could, in fact, be a squamous cell. Your dermatologist can perform a biopsy to diagnose the lesion and provide the appropriate treatment, as needed.
Malignant Melanoma is the rarest but most serious form of skin cancer. This condition appears as a dark brown or black mole with uneven borders and irregular colors in shades of black, blue, red or white. Malignant Melanoma most commonly occurs on the upper backs of men and lower legs of women. However, the disease can also develop on the face and other areas of the body. Once this cancer spreads to other organs including the brain, bone, liver and lungs, it can become fatal. Another form of Melanoma occurs in families with atypical moles, and these individuals typically have numerous unusual moles—some of which might need removal.
The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. These growths develop when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells—most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from sunshine or tanning beds—trigger mutations, or genetic defects, that prompt the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors. They originate in pigment-producing melanocytes of the epidermis’ basal layer. Melanoma is caused mainly by intense, occasional UV exposure, frequently leading to sunburn, especially in those who are genetically predisposed to the disease. Moreover, this disease kills an estimated 10,130 people in the United States annually.
Despite that worrisome statistic, skin cancer is almost always curable when detected and treated early. That’s why Abrams Dermatology will offer a Free Skin Cancer Screening this month which we encourage the community to take advantage of.
Bradley Abrams, D.O. and Sheryl Wilson, ARNP-C are highly recognized for detecting and treating skin cancers, as well as other skin conditions. On May 25, noon to 1 p.m., they will be providing a free skin cancer screening at Abrams Dermatology, located at 3328 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota. Space is limited, so please register in advance. To reserve your spot, call 941-926-2300. This screening does not replace a complete annual exam, but will determine if you have possible skin cancers that could require further examination or treatment For more information, visit AbramsDerm.com.