Skin cancer threatens the lives of millions of Americans. Dermatologist, Dr. Patricia McCormack of Staten Island, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, and Linden, NJ, not only treats skin cancer, she shows her patients steps to reduce your chances of getting skin cancer. Have healthy skin for life.
Types of skin cancer
The American Cancer Society (ACS) says that skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer. Affecting people of all ages, this malignancy can be treated successfully when it's detected in its earliest stages.
Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the two skin cancers most people develop. Another, malignant melanoma, is the most deadly as it spreads to other parts of the body.
Preventing skin cancer
Too much sun exposure changes our skin, but not for the better. UV rays from the sun age your skin prematurely, lead to cataract formation and cause skin cancer. So, your dermatologist in Staten Island, NY, recommends some simple strategies to limit UV radiation, including:
- Daily application of SPF 30 sunscreen.
- Staying in the shade or inside during peak sun hours of 10 am and two pm.
- Never using artificial tanning sources.
- Using a broad-brimmed hat and long-sleeved cover-up clothing at the beach or pool side.
Also, Dr. McCormack asks her patients to stop smoking and get an annual skin exam every year if you are 40 or older.
Screening yourself for skin cancer
You should do this at home once a month. Visually inspect the skin all over your body. Have your spouse help you to look at hard to see areas, such as your back.
Look for new spots or moles, changes in skin color and texture and any sore which continues to hurt, itch, bleed or grow over a period of a week or more. If you have moles (nevi), they should not change or increase in number.
Here is a self-screening tool you can use at home to check on your moles:
A for asymmetry. If halved, each side of a mole should be the same size and shape.
B for border. Mole edges should be smooth, not notched or scalloped.
C for color. Most moles are beige or brown. Multi-colored surfaces or color changes may signal cancer.
D for diameter. A benign mole is no larger than a pencil eraser (6 mm).
E for evolving. If an existing mole begins to look different in any way, it could be melanoma.
If you have concerns about a mole, freckle or spot, contact your skin doctor for an evaluation.
At this time...
Our office is open for skin cancer evaluations. Dr. Patricia McCormack and her team also see patients via convenient Telemedicine consults. Call us to arrange your appointment. We have three locations to serve you.
In Staten Island, NY, phone (718) 698-1616. In Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, call (732) 295-1331, and in Linden, NJ, reach us at (908) 925-8877.
Treating Acne Scars
- Chemical peels: This treatment, which is often used for cosmetic reasons, can also reduce the appearance of acne scars. Chemical peels remove the outermost layer of the skin to reveal healthy new skin underneath.
- Microdermabrasion: Microdermabrasion offers similar results as a chemical peel, but instead of applying a chemical solution to the skin, microdermabrasion often uses a handheld device with a diamond or crystal tip at the end to blast away the outer layer of the skin.
- Laser skin resurfacing: This laser treatment will also remove the outermost layer of the skin, which is the most damaged layer, while also tightening the brand-new skin that’s revealed. The skin is numbed before treatment and the recovery time can take up to 10 days.
- Fractional laser therapy: Are you dealing with deeper acne scars? If so, then laser resurfacing or microdermabrasion may not give you the results you’re looking; however, your dermatologist may recommend fractional laser therapy, as this targets deeper levels of tissue.
Icepick scars: These tiny little depressions in the skin often respond best to chemical peels, skin resurfacing, or laser treatment.
Rolling scars: These depressions in the skin may respond best to an injectable treatment such as a dermal filler, which can raise the indented areas of the skin to smooth out your appearance. Dermal fillers can help to plump the skin in areas that have lost volume, to reduce the appearance of superficial scars. Your dermatologist may also recommend laser treatment.
Boxcar scars: These larger indentations with clearer edges are often caused by inflammatory acne. These are treated through a minor procedure in which your doctor uses a needle to break up the scar tissue underneath. Laser treatment and dermal fillers may also be recommended.
Dealing with acne scars can be embarrassing, but your dermatologist can help. If you want to discuss your acne scar treatment options, then it’s time to talk to a qualified dermatologist today to find out your treatment options.
During the much longed-for summer months, people work on their tans. While enjoying a richer skin tone now, tanners take huge risks for premature aging and skin cancer.
Sun and artificial tanning
It's what we use to get those tans. But, did you know that when you tan, you actually burn the top layer (epidermis) of your skin and damage your DNA, too?
According to Live Science, DNA damage mutates normal skin cells into cancer cells. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas are the most common kinds of skin cancer. Malignant melanoma is the most deadly skin cancer as it easily metastasizes to major body organs. About one-third of melanoma cases in the US kill their sufferers annually, says The Skin Cancer Foundation.
Unfortunately, artificial tanning is just as dangerous as sitting in the sun. Intermittent sun exposure or occasional tanning in the sun or tanning beds are harmful, too. Damage to the skin is cumulative, and both kinds of ultraviolet radiation (there are UV-A and UV-B rays) breakdown your skin's DNA over time. Further, UV-B harms your skin's natural elasticity normally provided by a protein called collagen.
Don't tan: protect
To protect your skin, avoid sunburns, intentional tanning and excessive day to day sun exposure with these strategies from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD):
- Cover up any exposed skin (face, arms, legs, ears) with a broad-brimmed hat, long-sleeves and other sun-protective clothing.
- Use sunscreen lotion--SPF 30 or higher--on all exposed skin, and re-apply every two hours or whenever you sweat it off or swim.
- Stay indoors or in the shade from 10 am to 2 pm.
Also, all adults, particularly those 40 or older, should see a dermatologist for an annual skin exam. Do a careful self-exam once a month at home, looking for changes in the color, size, and shape of existing spots or moles. Report changes to your skin doctor as well as any sore which does not heal in a week or so.
It's your skin
Don't sacrifice its health for a little fashionable color. Tanning really is bad for you. Find healthy ways to enjoy the summer months and that wonderful sun. Your skin and your overall health will be better for your efforts.
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