Are you among the one in five Americans who develop skin cancer in their lifetime? Find out if there are any indications with a routine skin exam at the Skin Cancer Detection and Treatment Program at the Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at The Hospital of Central Connecticut.
For: People with concerning skin lesions, people who want an overall skin exam for cancer and people diagnosed with skin cancer.
When: The fourth Wednesday of each month, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute at The Hospital of Central Connecticut, 183 North Mountain Road, New Britain, CT 06053
Skin Cancer And The Sun
New cases of skin cancer each year nationwide outnumber the combined new cases of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon. The majority of skin cancers are caused by the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Lighter skin, numerous moles or a family history of skin cancer increase your risk.
Two Most Common Types Of Skin Cancer
Nonmelanoma: A malignant tumor originating in skin cells. Malignant describes the ability of the cancer to spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common types of nonmelanoma skin cancer. More than 4 million cases of basal cell carcinoma are diagnosed in the United States each year. About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are related to exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Melanoma: A less-common, but more serious, skin cancer that originates in the skin cells that produce pigment, or melanin. Melanomas can look like moles – some develop from moles – and most are black or brown. In some cases, melanomas are pink, red, purple, blue or white.
What To Look For
The Skin Cancer Detection and Treatment Program emphasizes early detection and prevention, with recommended treatment for skin cancers.
Inspect your skin every couple of months, requesting assistance from a partner for hard-to-see areas. (Half of melanomas are found by a patient or partner.)
- Any change, particularly the size or color of a spot, mole or growth.
- Sores that never heal.
- Oozing, bleeding or scaliness.
- Color that spreads beyond the border of a growth.
- Tenderness, itching, pain or other new sensations.
Take a photo of any unusual lesion, then watch for any changes. A spot could be melanoma if it’s black or multicolored, bigger than a pencil eraser, changes over time or has an irregular border. A rough patch or a bump that bleeds could be basal cell or squamous cell skin cancers.
Respect The Sun (And Ultraviolet Rays)
- Avoid being in the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.
- Use sunscreen regularly. Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen (look for an SPF of at least 30) 15 minutes before sun exposure. Cover all skin that will be exposed. Reapply every two hours.
- Apply sunscreen even if indoors next to a window or in the car. Automobile glass does not block all UV rays.
- Wear sun-protective clothing. Regular clothing does not keep UV rays from reaching the skin.
- Never use a tanning bed. Ultraviolet radiation is a known human carcinogen. New research shows that as little as one session can produce skin cancer.