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Dermatologist in Fremont, CA 94538 explains skin cancer risks


Among all cancers that affect humans, skin cancer is the most common, impacting around one million Americans each year. Cancer develops when healthy cells transform in some manner and multiply excessively. These abnormally abundant cells then form a tumor. Tumors may be benign or malignant. Cancerous tumors are malignant and attach to nearby body tissues, such as lymph nodes, or may attack other organs through the bloodstream. Tumors steal crucial oxygen and nutrients from healthy tissue.

There are three main types of skin cancer. The least likely to metastasize, or spread to other organs or tissues, are basal cell carcinomas and squamous cells carcinomas. Both of these skin cancers are called keratinocyte carcinomas because their cells have similar appearances to common skin cells. With early diagnosis, basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas can be effectively treated.

  • Basal cell carcinomas – the most frequently occurring skin cancer, affecting about 80% of all skin cancer patients, basal cell carcinomas are slower growing and tend to impact the head and neck
  • Squamous cell carcinomas – less common, squamous cell carcinomas may also appear on the face and neck, as well as on the ears, lips, backs of the hands, and even in the genital area

Melanoma is the most serious of all skin cancers and may appear on any part of the body. It may look like a mole, with a flat, brown or black surface, and uneven or asymmetrical shape. Symptoms may not present with melanoma or may be itchy, sore, or bleed.

Knowing the risks

By now, most people understand that the risk of skin cancer is greater for those who are overexposed to ultraviolet, or UV, rays from sunshine, sun lamps, and tanning beds. Additional risk factors include:

  • Smoking or use of tobacco products
  • Fair skin – although every skin type is susceptible to skin cancer, people with light skin, blond or red hair, light-colored eyes, and freckles are at greater risk
  • Environment – people living near the equator or at higher altitudes have greater exposure to UV rays
  • Genetics or a family history of cancer
  • Age – over 40
  • Gender – men develop skin cancer more frequently
  • Patients who have been overexposed to certain chemicals, radiation, x-rays
  • Patients with certain forms of human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • People with numerous moles

The best prevention steps for avoiding skin cancer include:

  • Seeing a board certified dermatologist annually for a skin cancer screening
  • Stay out of the sun between 10 am and 2 pm
  • Block UV radiation from the sun by wearing protective clothing, sunglasses, and wide brimmed hats
  • Monitor changes to your skin
  • Use a sunscreen with UV protection of 30 or higher

Dr. Dhawan and his colleagues at Center for Dermatology, Cosmetic and Laser Surgery, with offices in Fremont, CA 94538 and Milpitas, CA 95035, are board certified physicians specializing in medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatology. For information about skin cancer screening, call our professional skin care team at 855-717-1755 or 855-717-1756 today.

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