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Skin Cancer

AKs: What to look for
An actinic keratosis is a rough, scaly or crusty bump that forms on the surface of the skin. They are also called solar keratosis, sun spots, or precancerous spots. Dermatologists frequently refer to them as "AK's".
Are You at Risk of Melanoma?
Summer is generally a time of increased physical activity, and most of us look forward to gardening, hiking, swimming, or simply sun tanning. Unfortunately, we are now aware that too much of a good thing can be harmful, especially when the subject is about sun exposure. Excessive sun exposure can not only burn the skin and speed up the aging of our skin, but become the cause of more serious problems such as melanoma.
Check for basal cell carcinomas
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common form of skin cancer, and it is most prevalent on the head or neck in people 40 years of age or older. Skin type and sun exposure levels are some of the primary contributing factors.
Check your birthmarks regularly
A birthmark is a discolored patch or spot of skin that’s present at birth or develops shortly after, and its color can vary from brown, black, bluish to blue-gray. Birthmarks include moles, cafe-au-lait spots and mongolian spots.
Did you know that most skin cancers are curable?
When detected early, most skin cancers are curable. In fact, non-melanoma skin cancers (like basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas) can be successfully treated in over 99% of cases if they are promptly diagnosed. Both natural (sun exposure) and artificial (sunbeds) sources of UV radiation can cause skin cancer.
Do regular skin checks!
According to Health Canada, skin cancer has been increasing in this country at a fairly constant rate over the past 30 years. In 2005, there were roughly 78,000 new cases of basal and squamous cell carcinomas reported, and about 4,400 new cases of malignant melanomas.
Early skin cancer detection
It is estimated that 1 in 5 individuals will develop skin cancer in their life. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of skin cancer, as well as being the most prevalent form of cancer. BCCs first begin in the lower layer of the epidermis (in the basal cells).
Know your A-B-C-D-Es of skin cancer ...
Atypical moles are: Asymmetrical, with an uneven shape; have irregular Borders; are usually dark brown or black in Colour; have a Diameter the size of a pencil eraser (although it is best to find a melanoma before it has grown to this size); and are Evolving or changing.
Maintaining a healthy scalp
The condition of your scalp is affected by numerous factors including stress, hormonal irregularities, diseases and diet. Just as your facial complexion is affected by changes within your body, the condition of your scalp can be another external measure of your overall health. Sudden changes occurring on the scalp could signal an imbalance in your body or indicate an underlying disease. Skin cancer can also occur on the scalp, particularly in areas not well covered by hair. It can destroy skin cells and tissues and, in some cases, spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body. Skin cancer may appear as a growth or mole, a change in a growth or mole, a sore that does not heal, or irritation of the skin. Get a friend or your partner to check your scalp regularly for suspicious lesions and make it a habit to wear a hat when you’re out under the sun. Maintaining and preserving the health of your scalp starts with keeping your hair clean, so routinely wash and condition. If dandruff is a concern, try medicated conditioners with an antifungal agent, such as pyrithione zinc, to effectively treat and manage the flaking.
Recent Updates on Evaluation and Treatment of Skin Cancer
Two major updates have made recent news in the medical community concerning skin cancer. The first is an update on the well known ABCD guide for identifying and diagnosing melanoma. The second is the approval of Imiquimod (Aldara™, by 3M) cream, used to treat superficial basal cell cancer.
Recommended Articles on Photo Damage and Sun Protection
Sunshine, although essential for health and well being, is certainly a hazard for the skin. For many people it feels good to spend time outdoors and this makes it difficult to avoid excessive exposure to the sun. Most of the sun exposure we accumulate throughout our lives, is thought to be the effect of multiple short periods of time outside. If the ozone depletion continues this may also increase our lifetime exposure
Reduce skin cancer risk
Skin cancer usually develops in the outermost layer of skin (epidermis), consequently most tumors are easily detectable, even at the early stages.
Regular skin checks can save lives!
According to Health Canada, skin cancer has been increasing in this country at a fairly constant rate over the past 30 years. In 2005, there were roughly 78,000 new cases of basal and squamous cell carcinomas reported, and about 4,400 new cases of malignant melanomas.
Skin Cancer Basics
Skin cancer is a condition where malignant cells develop on the outer layers of the skin. These typically develop in areas that are commonly exposed to the sunlight, such as the face, neck, hands, and the arms. Some people consider skin cancer to be a relatively minor health concern, and this is, for the most part, true. Most skin cancers are preventable, and easily cured when detected at an early stage, before it spreads to other organs inside the body.
Skin cancer prevention ...
If you are fair-skinned and over 50, you have an increased chance of developing actinic keratoses - rough scaly patches that are commonly found on sun-exposed skin. See your doctor for a confirmed diagnosis and about treatment options, since these slow-growing lesions can develop into skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma).
Skin cancer rates are on the rise ...
There will be 30% more Canadians with skin cancer this year than 10 years ago, according to the Canadian Dermatology Association.
Skin cancer risk factors ...
You are at higher risk for developing skin cancer if you live in a sunny environment year-round, have experienced many bad sunburns, are fair-skinned, have an abundance of moles or freckles, or if you have a family history of skin cancer.
Skin Cancer Self-Examination
Freckles, moles, and birthmarks are common, and almost all people have some of these features in varying degrees. Changes in the shape, color, size, or the outer edges can be warning signs of skin cancer.
Sunbeds are not a safer way to tan ...
Contrary to popular belief, sunbeds are not a safer way to tan. Sunbeds emit UVA radiation, which causes tanning and aging of the skin. If you are using a sunbed, you are accelerating the aging process of your skin and increasing your risk of developing skin cancer.
Take a closer look for AKs
Actinic keratoses (AKs) are skin lesions that are caused by the sun; they occur mainly on body areas that have been frequently exposed to sunlight. These growths are most commonly found on the face, hands, forearms and V of the neck, and are more prevalent among pale-skinned, fair-haired, light-eyed individuals. Actinic keratoses are considered to be pre-cancerous lesions, which mean they may become skin cancers. Any raised, reddish, rough-textured growth should be examined by a dermatologist. Remember that sun protection at any age is essential for preventing premature aging and reducing the risk of skin cancer. Even during the winter months, the daily application of an SPF15+ sunscreen, or a moisturizer containing sun protection, is highly recommended.
The deadly risk associated with indoor tanning
A new study published in the December 1, 2008 issue of CANCER (a journal of the American Cancer Society) cites that more than 1.3 million skin cancer diagnoses occurs each year in the U.S.
The Effects of Sun Damage
As time goes on, we start to notice brown spots and freckles -- souvenirs of Florida -- on the backs of our hands and on other sun exposed areas like the upper chest and face. At first, these brown spots are small and light colored, but eventually they become a cosmetic problem; an obvious sign of premature aging of the skin
The Tanning Bed Controversy
Tanning beds have been a source of controversy for some time, and there has been a lot of misinformation surrounding its benefits and risks. The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently made a recommendation that sun beds should be banned for people who are 18 and under, as younger people are at an increased risk of skin cancer by early exposure to ultraviolet light.
The truth about sunbeds ...
For those of you using indoor tanning beds, beware that artificial sunlight can be as damaging to your skin and eyes as the real thing. In fact, artificial UV rays from tanning beds and sunlamps can be as much as 20 times stronger than natural sunlight.
What are the differences between freckles and moles?
Freckles and moles are areas of increased pigment (melanin) in the skin, but they're not the same thing. Melanin is a natural substance that gives colour to hair, skin, and the iris of the eye, and it serves to protect the skin against UV radiation.