Skin Cancer – The Deadliest Of All Cancers

Plastic Surgeon serving Lutherville Timonium, Baltimore & Columbia areas of Maryland

Most people do not realize that more than one million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every year. Combining all the cancers, skin cancer has more victims than all of them put together. Sadly, one in five people are going to be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime. In spite of these high numbers, very few Americans know little about how they can prevent skin cancer. The knowledge of what preventive measures we can take are not widely known or taken very serious. If we are ever going to beat this deadly disease, we need to get more educated about the different types, causes, risks, as well as what steps to take to prevent skin cancer.

People with blue or green eyes, fair skinned, freckled, easily sunburned or light colored hair are more vulnerable to skin cancer. Darker skin people are on the lower end of the risk to get skin cancer, but those who do, have a higher rate of death. While prostate, color or lung cancer are high among men, melanoma is more apt to attack white males over the age of 50.

There are three types of skin cancer, two of which are curable. Those two are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carinoma. The third type is the most dangerous and is found frequently among young adults. That one is melanoma, the deadliest of skin cancer and is linked to getting too much sun. A person's chance of getting skin cancer is greatly increased during childhood. As a child, having one severe sunburn can increase the risk of melanoma as a young adult. While we take extra care in protecting our children while at the beach or the park, they have more sun exposure than you realize.

The sun's rays are the biggest enemy when it comes to skin cancer claiming over 90% of the victims. There are two types of rays coming from the sun. The genetics of the skin are affected by the UVA rays while the outside layers of the skin are affected by the UVB rays. We all need to remember to protect ourselves, especially children, year round against the sun’s UVA and UVB.

The best way to protect yourself from skin cancer is to stay out of the sun. Unfortunately, this isn't possible when you live a normal lifestyle. So when you are out in the sun make sure to wear tight woven clothing, sunglasses, and wide brim hats and use sunblock generously. For sunblock to be its most effective, the SPF should rate above 15 and keep applying every two hours. Read the label and make sure you are getting a SPF 15 or higher that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Keep your activities limited to the time of the day that the sun rays are not as strong. Midday rays are the most dangerous and the time of day that experts warn to stay indoors. When limiting your exposure to UV rays, this also includes tanning beds as well.

The statistics of skin cancer are astonishing and much too common these days when we have the information available to us that can help us understand what can happen and how we can prevent it. A little prevention can keep you and your family safe from this dangerous disease. Don't be the one in five that will become a victim!