Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in the United States. Over the past several years, the general public has become more educated about this problem. Now more people than ever before are using sunscreen when spending time outdoors and are generally more aware of the damage that the sun’s ultraviolet light can do to their skin. But even with this growth in knowledge and awareness, skin cancer is still very commonly diagnosed and people should be more proactive with skin cancer screening.
Types of Skin Cancer
There are 3 types of skin cancer that are most commonly diagnosed.
One type is basal cell carcinoma. This is the most common type of skin cancer with nearly 2.8 million diagnoses each year in the United States alone. This cancer develops within the basal cell layer of the skin which is the lowest part of the epidermis. Basal cell carcinoma is caused by ultraviolet light exposure and tends to develop in areas of the skin that get the most sun exposure. Basal cell cancers usually grow slowly and rarely spread to the lymph nodes or other areas of the body.
Another type of skin cancer is called squamous cell carcinoma. It is the second most common type of skin cancer and develops in areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun, such as the neck, face, back, ears, etc. This type of cancer develops from the squamous cells that make up much of the epidermis, the outer layer of the skin.
The third most common type of skin cancer is called melanoma. This cancer forms in the melanocytes, or the skin cells that produce melanin. These cells darken when exposed to the sun to protect the deeper layers of the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays. Unlike the other two main types of skin cancer, melanoma can develop in areas that are not exposed to the sun. This fact serves as a reminder of how important it is to screen for skin cancer.
Skin Cancer Consultations Available
How and How Often Should I Be Screened for Skin Cancer?
With all of this in mind, Dermatology & Plastic Surgery of Arizona recommends all adults check their skin and moles every 3 months and to have a doctor check them once each year.
When checking your own skin, it is important to find a private area in your home with good lighting. You will also need a handheld mirror to help you see your back and the back of the neck.
Be sure that you look at all moles and skin irregularities. Note the position, size, color, and the border of each mole. If you note any changes in these moles, it’s important to then schedule an appointment with your dermatologist.
In addition to your own personal screening, it is recommended that you visit your dermatologist once each year for a formal, thorough screening. The highly trained physician knows exactly what to look for and what type of treatment will be necessary.
If you have a history of skin cancer, your physician may recommend in-office screenings more than once each year.
I’ve had skin cancer since I was 19, so I’ve seen my fair share of dermatologists. Due to my husband’s career I’ve lived many places and have had to find a new doctor every few years. This practice is my favorite of all the ones I have been to. Dr. Jamie is a sweet heart and does excellent work. (I enjoy her aesthetic work very much as well!) Her husband has the touch. He’s removed a mole off my eyelid and obviously this was a delicate area. So tiny and lots of room for things to go poorly. He did a perfect job. You can’t even see where it was. Super steady hands. He is more matter of fact than Dr Muenster, but still personable and they are both quite skilled at what they do. I had a skin cancer right under my eye and about six months later you can’t even tell. The office staff is friendly and efficient. This is NOT a stuffy plastic surgery office. Professional, but homey. I can’t say enough nice things about this practice. Enjoy!
Take The Next Step
Taking care of your skin is one of the most important things that you can do for your body. If you are interested in starting up a healthy routine of cancer screenings, or if you have fears about changes that you have seen in your skin, it’s time to take the next step and schedule an appointment with Dr. Christopher Weyer, Molly Daneker, or Brenna Petro, at Dermatology and Plastic Surgery of Arizona.
You can schedule an appointment by calling our Tucson office at 520-207-3100 or our Sierra Vista location at 520-458-1787. You may also schedule an appointment by completing the form on this page. His offices are conveniently located at 698 East Wetmore, Suite #310 in Tucson, Arizona and 150 South Coronado Drive Suite #110 in Sierra Vista, Arizona.