July 28, 2015

Skin Cancer Risks

Most people in our region have spent considerable time outdoors in their lifetime, whether it has been working on a farm, playing on a ball field or soaking up the rays in the back yard.

The truth is if you have spent a lot of time outside, then you are at risk for skin cancer. Sun exposure is the major risk factor for melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.

Skin Cancer Facts

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined over the past three decades. Skin cancers include melanoma, basal cell and squamous cell. Of the three, melanoma is the hardest to treat.

The timing of finding a melanoma is critical. Every few months, perform a self-examination from head to toe, paying special attention to moles. You know your skin and if you see a change, then make an appointment with your primary care doctor and get an appropriate referral.

Warning signs

Signs of skin cancer include:

  • Any change in size, color, shape or texture of a mole or other skin growth
  • An open or inflamed skin wound that won’t heal

Signs of melanoma also include:

  • A change in an existing mole
  • A small, dark, multicolored spot with irregular borders — either elevated or flat — that may bleed and form a scab
  • A cluster of shiny, firm, dark bumps
  • A mole larger than a pencil eraser

-Oncologist Charles Winkler, MD, Baptist Health Paducah

Learn More.