According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the only international organization devoted solely to education, prevention, early detection, and prompt treatment of the world’s most common cancer, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
Skin cancer occurs when there are abnormalities in the cells that make up the skin. There are two main types of malignant cancers, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Basal cell carcinoma is a slow-growing cancer found in the base of the epidermis that accounts for about 90% of all skin cancers. It seldom spreads, but if left untreated can invade bone and other tissues under the skin. Squamous cell carcinoma is found on the surface of the skin. It can be more aggressive, can grow deep below the skin and spread to distant areas of the body. A third type of skin cancer, called melanoma, begins in the cells that produce pigment in the skin. This type is less common, but more serious. However, if caught early, there is a nearly 97% chance for cure.
Since its inception in 1979, The Skin Cancer Foundation has always recommended using a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher as an important part of a complete sun protection regimen. Sunscreen alone is not enough, however. Below is a list of skin cancer prevention tips:
– Seek the shade, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
– Avoid skin burns.
– Avoid tanning and never use UV tanning beds.
– Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
– Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
– Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
– Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
– Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
– See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
At Alliance Cancer Care Colorado at Red Rocks, our Sensus® Therapy Unit was the first facility in the State of Colorado to install state-of-the-art equipment that offers skin cancer patients with a new, non-invasive, non-Moh’s, non-surgical option to curatively treat basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. This modality is especially useful and effective for head, neck and face skin cancers because there are no surgical scars (no scalpels and no needles) as a result of treatment or needed for treatment. This treatment, called SRT or “soft radiation treatment,” is effectively limited to the thickness of the skin and focused directly to the cancerous spot(s). Treatment can be administered in as little as two days per week for 8 treatments total and is 95% — 98% effective and the actual treatment sessions last a minute or less.
For more information on how we treat skin cancer at Alliance Cancer Care Colorado at Red Rocks, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us today.