In checking for skin cancer, our dermatologists will take into consideration the history of any lesions of concern and any past skin cancer. The tools for early diagnosis include amplified lighting and close magnified examinations, including dermoscopy. Serial dermoscopic photographs or full body photographs may be recommended. A skin biopsy may be needed to help diagnose a lesion. This usually involves taking a small sample of a lesion and sending for histological (a small slice of cells viewed through a microscope) examination. Certain lesions are more appropriately fully removed.
With the aid of expert clinical examinations, our dermatologists can detect skin cancer early (when the outcomes are best), while also minimizing the unnecessary costs and scarring from later stage treatments. Those who are at high risk for skin cancer, especially those who have had skin cancer before or who have a lot of sun damage, benefit the most from regular skin cancer screenings in Newport Beach.
SKIN CANCER IS MORE COMMON THAN YOU MAY THINK
According to the American Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S., with more cases diagnosed every year than all other cancer combined. This is largely due to too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. The sun is not the only culprit. Damage can also be caused by overexposure to tanning beds and sun lamps.
If you have been overexposed to UV rays in the past, the good news is:
- There is a lot you can do to protect your skin from UV rays in the future; and
- Frequent visits to your dermatologist can make early diagnosis and better outcomes possible.
FACTORS THAT INCREASE THE RISK OF SKIN DAMAGE FROM THE SUN
Exposure to UV rays can damage anyone’s skin, but light-skinned people are more susceptible. Some people tan when they are exposed to the sun, as a result of an increase in the number and activity of cells that make the pigment melanin. As melanin helps block out UV rays, people with darker skin are less likely to burn. Sunburn can increase the risk of skin cancer. However, UV exposure without burning can also increase the risk.
Other factors besides skin tone that can increase the risk of skin damage from ultraviolet rays include:
- Personal or family history of skin cancer
- Many, large, or irregular moles
- Living or vacationing at a high altitude or in a tropical or subtropical climate
- Spending a great deal of time outdoors
- Intense sun exposure on weekends after working indoors all week
- Fair skin, blue or green eyes, blond, red, or light brown hair
- Certain autoimmune diseases, such as lupus
- Medical conditions that weaken the immune system, such as HIV
- Medicines that lower or suppress the immune system or make the skin more sensitive to sunlight