Our Dermatology Blog

Posts for tag: Skin Cancer

By WARRENTON DERMATOLOGY & SKIN THERAPY CENTER
March 15, 2017
Category: Sun Exposure
Tags: Skin Cancer   Teens   sun exposure   Tanning  

Skin cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the United States, and recent findings indicate that non-melanoma skin cancer is increasing in young adults, especially young women. It has been shown that ultraviolet light exposure early in life is linked to skin cancer later in life, since younger skin is particularly sensitive to the detrimental effects of ultraviolet light. So, it is particularly disturbing that, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, nearly 2.3 million American teenagers visit tanning salons every year. Furthermore, tanning is now thought to be truly “addictive” because of a proven endorphin release during sun exposure, which only reinforces this unhealthy habit.

More than 80% of teens surveyed did not believe that tanning salons were safer than natural exposure to the sun, yet almost 65% of the students felt that they should be able to use a tanning salon without the consent of their parents. 60% of teens thought that “tan” people were better looking, but 54% of the students said that they do believe tanning now will cause their skin to look ugly in the future; however, they will continue to tan anyway. The overwhelming majority of teenagers did not use sunless tanners.

Clearly, these teenagers believe that “tanner people are better looking.” Although intellectually, these young people (particularly females) realize that tanning may not be healthy for them, they will continue to expose themselves to dangerous ultraviolet rays. Why?!? The two most plausible explanations for this disconnect may be that: 1) teenagers often feel invincible and 2) there is a long lag time between exposure to ultraviolet radiation and the development of skin cancers, so vanity trumps future benefits. So, short of national legislation to prevent teenagers from accessing tanning salons, what else can be done?

The answer may be in addressing the vanity of tanned skin head-on. Rather than continuing to highlight the dangers of tanning to teens who already know it is unsafe but are willing to take the risk…give them safe, affordable, accessible and effective options to get what they want, just without UV exposure: Sunless tanners. Sunless tanning has made huge advances in both ease of application and quality of result over the past few years. Gone are the days of streaky, orange, “fake” looking results. Professionally applied “spray tans” are still available, but there are many at-home products which yield the same great results. There are lotions that can be applied nightly for a gradual change of color over time (Jergens Natural Glow), or pre-moistened wipes which are rubbed over the skin to produce a tan in a few short hours (Tan Towel), just to name a couple. The key to success with any of these products is good exfoliation of dead cells from the skin prior to application, and careful attention to the application directions.

Be proactive and talk with your teen about their safe self-tanner options. As prom and other spring/summer events approach, it is likely that your teen will want to look tan. Help them select the most appropriate self-tanner for their skin type and then be there to support their application efforts. If it keeps them from unsafe sun and/or tanning booth exposure – it just might also save their life!

By WARRENTON DERMATOLOGY & SKIN THERAPY CENTER
July 22, 2016
Category: Skin Care

Our bodies need vitamin D to build and maintain strong, healthy bodies. Without vitamin D, the body cannot use calcium and phosphorus, two minerals that are necessary for healthy bones. One of the top sources of vitamin D is the sun; However, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) does not recommend getting vitamin D from sun exposure (natural) or indoor tanning (artificial) because ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and tanning beds can lead to the development of skin cancer. Getting vitamin D from a healthy diet, which includes naturally enriched vitamin D foods, fortified foods, and beverages, and/or vitamin supplements offers a safer alternative. It is important to note that most problems with vitamin D deficiency are nutritional in nature;  And, even though sunlight IS necessary to synthesize Vitamin D, it takes only 10 minutes of morning sunlight or casual/passive sun exposure (like through your car window) to saturate these receptors.  So, tanning or prolonged exposure to sunlight will not increase your vitamin D levels more than what you are getting.

  • Dietary sources of vitamin D do not prematurely age the skin or increase the risk of developing skin cancer like sun exposure does. 
    Dietary sources (foods naturally rich in vitamin D, fortified foods, and beverages) and vitamin supplements are available year-round and can easily be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle. Good sources include fortified milk, cheeses and yogurt, fortified cereal, and oily fish like salmon and tuna. Research shows that vitamin D supplements are well tolerated, safe, and effective when taken as directed by a physician.
  • The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is: 
    400 IU (International Units) for infants/children 0-1 yrs 
    600 IU for children, teenagers, and adults 1-70 yrs
    800 IU for adults 71+ yrs

Because the amount of vitamin D a person receives from the sun is inconsistent and increases the risk of skin cancer, the RDA was developed based on a person receiving minimal or no sun exposure.

  • People need vitamin D to absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for bone health
    Vitamin D increases the efficiency of the body's absorption of calcium 30 to 40 percent, and phosphorus by 80 percent. Fortified foods and beverages are rich in both vitamin D and calcium and maintain phosphate levels. Many dietary supplements also contain both of these minerals. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is essential to prevent osteoporosis in men and women who are 50 years of age and older.
  • Vitamin D from food and dietary supplements offers the same benefits as vitamin D obtained from the sun (UV light).
    Vitamin D cannot be used by the body until it is processed by the liver and the kidneys. The usable form of vitamin D created by this process is the same, regardless of how it enters the body.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that anyone concerned about getting enough vitamin D should discuss with his or her doctor the options for obtaining sufficient vitamin D from foods and/or vitamin supplements.

Article Source: AAD.org. For more information about this and other skin-related topics, visit AAD.org.

By WARRENTON DERMATOLOGY & SKIN THERAPY CENTER
May 05, 2016
Category: Dermatology

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, affecting one in five Americans. In fact, it is estimated that more than 8,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day, and one person dies of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, every hour.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your skin cancer risk and detect skin cancer in its earliest stages, when it’s most treatable. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and the American Academy of Dermatology is asking the public to make sure their skin is “Looking Good in 2016” by practicing skin cancer prevention and performing regular skin self-exams.

As a board-certified dermatologist and member of the AAD, I have access to the American Academy of Dermatology’s free resources, which I am pleased to have the opportunity to share:

Melanoma FAQs from the American Academy of Dermatology

Q. What is melanoma?
A.  Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells. Melanomas may appear on the skin suddenly without warning but also can develop on an existing mole. The overall incidence of melanoma continues to rise. In fact, melanoma rates in the United States doubled from 1982 to 2011.1  

Q.  Is melanoma a serious disease?
A.  Melanoma is highly curable when detected early, but advanced melanoma can spread to the lymph nodes and internal organs, which can result in death. It is estimated that 10,130 people will die from melanoma in 2016.2

Q.  What causes melanoma?
A.  Exposure to natural and artificial ultraviolet light is a risk factor for all types of skin cancer, including melanoma.2 Research indicates that UV light from the sun and tanning beds can both cause melanoma and increase the risk of a benign mole progressing to melanoma.3

  • People who live close to the equator where the sunlight is more intense are more likely to develop melanoma than those in other regions.4-5

  • People older than 65 may experience melanoma more frequently because of UV exposure they've received over the course of their lives.6

  • Experiencing five or more blistering sunburns between ages 15 and 20 increases one's melanoma risk by 80 percent.7

  • Exposure to tanning beds increases the risk of melanoma, especially in women 45 or younger.8-9

Not all melanomas are exclusively UV-related - other possible influences include genetic factors and immune system deficiencies.

Q.  Who gets melanoma?
A.  Melanoma can strike anyone. Caucasians are more likely to be diagnosed with melanoma than other races. Even among Caucasians, however, certain individuals are at higher risk than others.2 For example:

  • Men older than 50 have a higher risk of developing melanoma than the general population.2,10 

  • You have a substantially increased risk of developing melanoma if you have more than 50 moles, large moles or atypical (unusual) moles.2

  • Your risk is increased if you have a family history of melanoma.2

  • If you are a Caucasian with light skin, your risk is higher than a Caucasian with olive skin.11

  • Redheads and blonds have a higher risk of developing melanoma. Blue or green eyes also increase your risk of developing melanoma.11

  • Your chances increase significantly if you’ve already had a previous melanoma, or if you have had either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma, which are more common forms of skin cancer.12-15

  • Your risk for melanoma may also be increased if you have had other previous cancers, such as breast or thyroid cancer.16-19

In people of color, melanoma is often diagnosed at later stages, when the disease is more advanced. This may be because many people are under the mistaken impression that people of color cannot get skin cancer.20

Q.  What are atypical moles?
A.  Most people have moles (also known as nevi). Atypical moles are unusual moles that are generally larger than normal moles and variable in color. They often have irregular borders and may occur in far greater number than regular moles. Atypical moles occur most often on the upper back, torso, lower legs, head, and neck. It is important to recognize that atypical moles are not limited to any specific body area — they may occur anywhere. The presence of atypical moles is an important risk factor for melanoma developing in a mole or on apparently normal skin.

Q.  What does melanoma look like?
A.  Recognition of changes in the skin is the best way to detect early melanoma. They most frequently appear on the upper back, torso, lower legs, head and neck.13, 21 In females 15-29 years old, the torso/trunk is the most common location for developing melanoma, which may be due to high-risk tanning behaviors.13, 21 If you have a changing mole, a new mole or a mole that is different from the rest, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist.

If you notice a mole on your skin, you should follow the ABCDE rule, which outlines the warning signs of melanoma:

  • Asymmetry: One-half does not match the other half.

  • Border irregularity: The edges are ragged, notched or blurred.

  • Color: The pigmentation is not uniform. Different shades of tan, brown or black are often present. Dashes of red, white, and blue can add to the mottled appearance.

  • Diameter: While melanomas are usually greater than 6mm in diameter when diagnosed, they can be smaller.

  • Evolving: A mole or skin lesion that looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape or color.

The American Academy of Dermatology urges everyone to examine their skin regularly. This means looking over your entire body, including your back, your scalp, your palms, your soles and between your toes.

If you notice a mole different from others, or one that changes, itches or bleeds, even if it is smaller than 6mm, you should make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist as soon as possible. 

Q.  Can melanoma be cured?
A.  When detected in its earliest stages, melanoma is highly curable. The average five-year survival rate for individuals whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 98 percent. Five-year survival rates for regional (lymph nodes) and distant (other organs/lymph nodes) stage melanomas are 63 percent and 17 percent, respectively.2 

Early detection is essential. Dermatologists recommend a regular self-examination of the skin to detect changes in its appearance.  Changing, suspicious or unusual moles or blemishes should be examined as soon as possible. A dermatologist can make individual recommendations as to how often a person needs a skin exam from a doctor based on individual risk factors, including skin type, history of sun exposure and family history. Individuals with a history of melanoma should have a full-body exam at least annually and perform monthly self-exams for new and changing moles.22

Q.  Can melanoma be prevented?
A.   Sun exposure is the most preventable risk factor for all skin cancers, including melanoma.23 Here’s how to prevent skin cancer:

  • Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.  If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.

  • Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, where possible.

  • Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor of at least 30 to all exposed skin. “Broad-spectrum” sunscreen provides protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Reapply approximately every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.

  • Use extra caution near water, snow and sand, as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.

  • Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look like you’ve been in the sun, you may wish to use a sunless self-tanning product, but you should continue to use sunscreen with it.

Learn more about skin cancer:
Melanoma
Skin cancer detection
Skin cancer prevention
Skin cancer fact sheet

Sources:

Guy GP Jr, Thomas CC, Thompson T, Watson M, Massetti GM, Richardson LC. Vital signs: melanoma incidence and mortality trends and projections - United States,1982-2030. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2015 Jun 5;64(21):591-6.

American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2016. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2016.

Shain, AH et al. The genetic evolution of melanoma from precursor lesions. N Engl J Med 2015; 373: 1926-1936.

Eide MJ, Weinstock MA. Association of UV index, latitude, and melanoma incidence in nonwhite populations--US Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, 1992 to 2001. Arch Dermatol. 2005 Apr;141(4):477-81.

Hu S, Ma F, Collado-Mesa F, Kirsner RS. UV radiation, latitude, and melanoma in US Hispanics and blacks. Arch Dermatol. 2004 Jul;140(7):819-24

Jemal A, Saraiya M, Patel P, et al. Recent trends in cutaneous melanoma incidence and death rates in the United States, 1992–2006. J Am Acad Dermatol 2011;65:S17.

Wu S, Han J, Laden F, Qureshi AA. Long-term ultraviolet flux, other potential risk factors, and skin cancer risk: a cohort study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomar Prev; 2014. 23(6); 1080-1089.

Ting W, Schultz K, Cac NN, Peterson M, Walling HW. Tanning bed exposure increases the risk of malignant melanoma. Int J Dermatol. 2007 Dec;46(12):1253-7.

Colantonio S, Bracken MB, Beecker J. The association of indoor tanning and melanoma in adults: systematic review and meta-analysis. J Am Acad Dermatol 2014;70:847–57.

Little EG, Eide MJ. Update on the current state of melanoma incidence. Dermatol Clin. 2012:30(3):355-61.

American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2013. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2013

Bower CP, Lear JT, Bygrave S, Etherington D, Harvey I, Archer CB. Basal cell carcinoma and risk of subsequent malignancies:  a cancer registry-based study in southwest England.  J Am Acad Dermatol 2000;42:988-91.

World Health Organization, Solar ultraviolet radiation:  Global burden of disease from solar ultraviolet radiation. Environmental Burden of Disease Series, N.13. 2006.

Hemminki K, Dong C. Subsequent cancers after in situ and invasive squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.  Arch Dermatol 2000;136:647-51.

Rosenberg CA, Greenland P, Khandekar J, Loar A, Ascensao J, Lopez AM. Association of nonmelanoma skin cancer with second malignancy. Cancer 2004;49:81-5.

Grenader T, Goldberg A, Shavit L. Second cancers in patients with male breast cancer: a literature review. J Cancer Surviv. 2008;2(2):73-78.

Satram-Hoang S, Ziogas A, Anton-Culver H. Risk of second primary cancer in men with breast cancer. Breast Cancer Res. 2007;9(1):R10.

Auvinen A, Curtis R, Ron E.  Risk of subsequent cancer following breast cancer in men. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2002;94(17):1330-1332.

Canchola A, Horn-Ross P, Purdie D. Risk of secondary primary malignancies in women with papillary thyroid cancer. Am J Epidemiol. 2006;163(6):521-527.

Howlader N, Noone AM, Krapcho M, Garshell J, Miller D, Altekruse SF, Kosary CL, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z,Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2012, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, based on November 2014 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2015.

Cancer Epidemiology in Older Adolescents & Young Adults. SEER AYA Monograph Pages 53-57.2007.

Berg, A. US Preventive Services Task Force. Screening for skincancer.http://archive.ahrq.gov/clinic/ajpmsuppl/skcarr.htm

Robinson, JK. Sun Exposure, Sun Protection and Vitamin D. JAMA 2005; 294:1541-43.

By Warrenton Dermatology & Skin Therapy Center
April 19, 2016
Category: Dermatology
Tags: Skin Cancer  

Find out how you can protect your healthy skin from skin cancer.

Spring has sprung and before long we will all be enjoying the benefits of summer. Maybe you and your family are planning to take that much-needed beach vacation or you are planning to soak up the rays with picnics and daily walks. However you choose to celebrate summer, your Warrenton dermatologist Dr. Juan-Carlos Caballero wants to make sure that everyone keeps their skin safe during the Skin Cancerwarm months and throughout the year.

The Best Ways to Prevent Skin Cancer

There are so many things you can do to protect your skin from the damaging rays of the sun and the sooner you start the better. Here are some handy tips to follow:

Limit Time in the Sun

Did you know that the sun’s rays are strongest between the hours of 11AM and 4PM? This means avoiding the sun as much as possible during these times and opting for off times to enjoy the great outdoors.

Seek the Shade

Of course, your Warrenton skin doctor knows that people don’t plan to spend the majority of their summers indoors, which is why these next few tips will help with protecting yourself while outside. Whenever you do go out this summer (even if it’s between 11AM and 4PM or not) you will want to seek shade whenever possible to limit exposure, whether this means lying under an umbrella or picnicking under a tree. Also, opt for protective clothing that covers your arms and legs, and don’t forget to wear a brimmed hat and sunglasses.

Cloudy Days Don’t Protect

You may see a cloudy summer day and think that you don’t have to put on sunscreen or wear protective clothing, but think again! About 80 percent of the sun’s rays can easily penetrate through clouds and fog. So don’t think you’re impervious to a sunburn on any given day.

Wear Sunscreen Daily

This rule should always go without saying but so many people don’t wear sunscreen at all let alone correctly. Opt for sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or more that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Apply it about 15 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours (or reapply after sweating or swimming). Not sure what kind of sunscreen is right for you? We would be happy to help!

Your skin health is important, so it’s also important that you turn to the skin care experts in Warrenton. Call Warrenton Dermatology & Skin Therapy Center today to schedule your next skin cancer screening.