Skin cancer is a serious skin condition that affects millions of people; however, it can be effectively treated if it’s detected early on. This is why scheduling regular skin cancer screenings with Juniper Dermatology is so important. We carefully screen our patients for malignant and pre-malignant lesions and moles.
If you haven’t had a checkup in a while, we recommend scheduling an appointment with Dr. Karla Pivik as soon as possible. As you prepare for your appointment, consider the following risk factors and signs to look out for.
Risk Factors of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer can affect all age groups. In fact, melanoma is ranked as the number one cancer detected in young adults aged 25 to 29. Not only that, but it is by far the deadliest form of skin cancer, causing more than 75 percent of all skin cancer deaths. This is why we are so passionate about knowing the risk factors and considering consistent skin cancer screenings to catch it as soon possible. No one is exempt of being exposed to possible factors of skin cancer, which is why we’ve listed a few of them below:
- Extensive sun exposure: UV rays cause damage to the DNA within our skin cells and can even result in changes. Extensive sun exposure can be caused by sun-bathing, tanning beds, etc.
- Family history: Genetic factors can contribute to an increased risk of being diagnosed with skin cancer.
- Previous history of skin cancer: Conditions could include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma or melanoma skin cancer.
Skin Cancer Signs to Look Out For
Suspicious Moles or Lesions
Most moles are harmless, but if you notice any new moles or skin lesions that appear abnormal or undergo changes, get it checked out immediately. The ABCDE rule can help you identify potential signs of melanoma:
- Asymmetry: One half of a mole or lesion doesn’t match the other half.
- Uneven Border: The edges are uneven and the spot has an irregular outline.
- Color variation: The mole or lesion varies in different colors.
- Diameter: The size of the mole or lesion is larger than 6 millimeters.
- Evolving: The mole or lesion is changing in size, thickness, or texture.
Be aware of any new growths or lesions that appear on your skin, especially if they differ from your normal skin features. These can include reddish patches, scaly areas, or rough, elevated bumps. At Juniper Dermatology, we are extremely passionate about skin cancer treatment and take it very seriously, so even if you are unsure about this new growth, we highly recommend scheduling an appointment to have us look at it.
Itchiness, Pain, or Tenderness
Unexplained itching, pain, or tenderness in a mole or lesion should never be ignored. Take note of any abnormal changes.
Changes in Skin Appearance or Texture
If there are any areas of your skin that become rough or scaly patches, red or inflamed, or if it becomes thinner or more translucent, give us a call. These types of changes should be evaluated by a dermatologist to determine the underlying cause, which could potentially be skin cancer.
At Juniper Dermatology, we recommend year-round, daily use of sun protection. This doesn’t just apply to summer, but also during winter! There are many different precautions you can take when it comes to sun protection. Sunscreen, sun-protective clothing, and seeking shade while outside are all key elements to maintaining the health of your skin while also enjoying the outdoors, especially here in Oregon.
When choosing a sunscreen look for one with the following characteristics…
1. Broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays)
2. Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or higher
3. Water resistance
We often get asked what the best sunscreen to use is? Our answer is simple: the one that you like and will use. There are two categories of sunscreens to consider, chemical and physical.
Chemical sunscreens contain organic (carbon-based) compounds, such as avobenzone, oxybenzone, octinoxate, and octisalate. These sunscreens create chemical reactions when they are exposed to UV light. They work by absorbing and changing harmful UV rays into heat, and then release the heat from the skin. When searching for a chemical sunscreen, check to make sure that it contains active ingredients that block out both UVB and UVA rays. This is also referred to as “broadspectrum”.
Physical sunscreens contain mineral ingredients, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. They deflect any damaging UV rays away from the skin. Physical sunscreens block both UVA and UVB rays.
What is SPF?
SPF is a measure of protection that sunscreen provides against a certain level of UV radiation. Our favorite recommendations for sunscreen are:
We recommend choosing a sunscreen that is a minimum of SPF 30 for daily use. The consistency of sunscreen can generally become tackier with a higher SPF, so we recommend you find a sunscreen that feels good on your skin.
- Reapply every 80-90 minutes, or after swimming and sweating, to ensure maximum coverage
- Apply generously – it’s more than you may think you need!
- Apply sunscreen 20 minutes prior to outdoor activities
- Limit sun exposure, especially between 10am-4pm
This type of clothing is made specifically to protect your skin against harsh UV rays. We recommend you look for clothes that offer UPF, which stands for Ultraviolet Protective Factor, of at least 30.
Some companies that offer great sun-protective clothing are:
Your skin health can’t afford to wait. Make sure that you are following these tips to protect your health and be sure to schedule regular skin cancer screenings with Dr. Karla Pivik. These screenings can help identify potential signs of different types of skin cancer early on so that we can improve the chances of a positive outcome. If you or someone you love has experienced any suspicious moles or lesions, new growths, non-healing sores, unexplained itching or pain, or other signs of skin cancer, schedule your skin cancer screening with Juniper Dermatology now. Our experienced dermatologists are dedicated to providing thorough evaluations and personalized care to ensure your skin health. We’re here to save your skin!
📍2239 NE Doctors Dr Suite 100, Bend, Oregon 97701