1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer during their lifetime

I'm not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV, but just about everyone in my family, me included has had some form of skin cancer. I had Mohs skin cancer surgery for the removal of a basal cell carcinoma from my face when I was only 26 years old. I know this doesn't make me an expert, but I have learned a lot about this disease, the treatment options and prevention.

Most of the information I found was clinical and written for people with PhD’s. Luckily, many of the web sites now are much better than 20 years ago. Actually there were NO web sites 20 years ago. However, my goal is to put a personal face on the disease and communicate in “simple & plain English” information about how to protect yourself and your family and spread the word about cancer awareness.

What exactly is cancer of the skin? It develops when:

  • Your DNA becomes damaged from too much sun exposure

  • Your own body’s defenses can lo longer repair the damage

  • Damaged cells then begin to divide and grow uncontrollably

  • A tumor then begins to form and cancer develops

  • This tumor will usually appear on the outer most layer of your skin (epidermis)

They are very easy to spot, but only if you pay attention to your skin!

As women we know every wrinkle and blemish on our face - just take that same dedication to your entire body. It's easy to get to know your moles, scrapes, scars and freckles. But if you want a physician to check you out, the Skin Cancer Foundation's Road to Healthy Skin Tour presented by Aveeno and Rite Aid provides free full body screenings and all the latest information.

Find out when they will be in your neighborhood

The most common types of skin cancers are broken down into two categories, Non-melanoma and Malignant Melanoma.

Non-Melanoma cancers include:

Actinic Keratoses

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Melanoma is diagnosed the least, but is by far the most serious of all cancers of the skin.

What causes skin cancer?

The leading cause is ultraviolet radiation (UV), mostly from the sun, but also from artificial sources like sunlamps and tanning beds.

In fact, many scientists believe that our quest for the perfect tan, spending more time outdoors, and the weakening of the earth's ozone layer are the reasons for the rise in diagnosis.

With all of my research, I could not find one specific doctor who discovered this disease. There are many experts in the field, including surgeons, dermatologists and oncologists. If you need to see a doctor, always research your physician, ask around or ask friends and family to recommend one.

Who gets skin cancer? Answer = ANYONE

This disease doesn't care about your skin type, race or age, where you live or what you do.

However, the risk factors increase for those who have:

  • Fair skin & light-colored eyes
  • Blond or red/auburn hair
  • A tendency to burn/freckle easily when in the sun
  • A family history of skin cancer or a personal history of a blistering sunburn.
  • Spend a lot of time working or playing outdoors.
  • You received therapeutic radiation treatments for adolescent acne.
  • Live close to the equator, at a higher altitude, or in any place that gets intense, year-round sunshine. (Don’t forget those of you up north, that is the Northeast and the Northwest, you are equally at risk)

In reality - everyone could be at risk, even the rich and famous. See which celebrities have been diagnosed.

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, CDC, National Cancer Institute and many other data resources, I have found some frightening statistics about this disease.

Our skin's primary goal is to protect our body from injury, heat and infection, as well as, store water, vitamin D and regulate the body's temperature.

We owe it to ourselves to protect our skin.

Any information in this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure skin cancer. This site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace proper medical care. Always seek the advice of a trained health professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before seeking any treatment. Proper medical attention should always be sought for specific ailments. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking medical treatment due to information obtained on sun-protection-and-products-guide.com.

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