Following our most recent snow storm, I am sure most of you are ready for summer! With the warm weather comes sun and the risks of sun exposure.
What are the risks of sun exposure?
Sun releases ultraviolet (UV) light which causes skin damage and break down. As your skin becomes damaged, you will notice thinning of the skin, wrinkles, and even sagging. Most of the time these conditions are not reversible without medical treatment. Sun exposure can also cause pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions.
What are these lesions?
- Actinic keratosis (pre-cancerous)- Actinic keratosis is the most common type of pre-cancerous skin lesion. It appears as a crusty, scaly growth, usually on sun exposed areas.
- Basal cell carcinoma (cancerous)- Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, with over 4 million cases being diagnosed in the United States each year. Although it rarely spreads past the point of origin, it does require surgical excision.
- Squamous cell carcinoma (cancerous)- This is the 2nd most common form of skin cancer, with over 1 million cases diagnosed in the United States each year. Squamous cell carcinoma has many different appearances, including a red patch, open sores, raised wart-like lesions, and many more. This skin cancer should also be treated with prompt surgical excision.
- Melanoma (cancerous)- Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer. If left untreated, it can spread and immediate surgical excision is necessary. Melanoma is most common in darker skinned individuals and was the cause of death of late reggae singer Bob Marley. They are usually dark and can easily be confused with moles. Melanoma’s are also usually raised from the skin and have irregular edges. Less commonly, they can also be red, blue, or purplish in color. If you ever see a lesion you are concerned about, you should seek medical treatment and a biopsy may be performed.
Although there is no way to definitively prevent skin cancer, there are ways to help. Wear sleeved shirts and hats to prevent direct sun exposure. Also be sure to apply sunscreen regularly to help block UV rays. Lastly, avoid tanning salons, as the tanning beds also contain UV rays that can damage your skin.
If you have a suspicious skin lesion, call Hollowbrook Foot Specialists today for an appointment! Our telephone number is (845) 298-9074. We are serving the Hudson Valley from Wappingers Falls!