Are You At Risk for Skin Cancer?

Jun 01, 2023
Are You At Risk for Skin Cancer?
Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in the United States. We review what puts you at risk for developing this form of cancer here.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer found in the United States. In fact, one in five people will be diagnosed with skin cancer at some point in their lives. However, with early detection, skin cancer has a survival rate of 99%

At Integrated Dermatology of 19th Street in Washington, DC, our team of skin cancer specialists wants you to have some facts about skin cancer including what to be on the lookout for and how to understand your risk. 

Understanding skin cancer

Skin cancer is an abnormal growth of skin cells that’s most typically caused by ultraviolet rays from the sun. Usually, when your old skin cells die, new ones form to replace them. 

However, if this process goes awry, a cluster of skin cells appears instead. This formation can be benign or noncancerous. But, it can become cancerous and, if left untreated, it can spread to other parts of your body.

You can typically find skin cancer on your scalp, face, arms, neck, ears, and chest since these are areas that get the most sun exposure.

Types of skin cancer

There are three types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. While basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common, melanoma is the most dangerous.

Basal cell carcinoma forms after years of exposure to the sun and looks like a pink-tinted patch of skin, a flat flesh-colored lesion, or a small and waxy bump. You can keep a lookout for this form on your head, neck, and arms.

Squamous cell carcinoma typically appears on your face, ears, and hands. This type looks like a bump that’s red and firm or a scaly patch of skin. It can also be a sore that constantly heals and reopens.

Melanoma can appear anywhere – even in places that don’t receive sun exposure. This kind can look like a large brown spot or it can be a mole that’s changed in size and shape. Early detection is key for this type of skin cancer.

Skin cancer risk factors

While anyone can develop skin cancer, some factors can increase your risk for it, and those include:

  • Having a naturally light skin color
  • Having skin that burns or freckles easily
  • Having blue or green eyes
  • Having red or blond hair
  • Having a family history of skin cancer
  • Having a large number of moles

If you identify with one or many of these risk factors, you should be screened for skin cancer regularly. Because early detection is so key for skin cancer, our team at Integrated Dermatology of 19th Street recommends coming to see us if you ever find a new or abnormal growth of skin cells.

To schedule a skin cancer screening with our office located in Washington, DC, simply give us a call at 202-955-6995 or use our online booking tool today.