Here at drs skincare in Hamilton, ON we offer a wide variety of aesthetic treatments. However, our focus goes beyond the appearance of skin. We seek to help our patients enjoy clear and healthy skin, avoiding medical dermatological problems. That is why we regularly remind patients to use sun protection and have regular skin cancer screenings. We also strive to educate our patients and the general public about how skin cancer affects the body, and why it is never worth taking risks.
Skin cancer: a deadly problem that can hide in plain sight
Human skin is prone to abnormalities, from freckles and moles to unidentifiable rashes. Unfortunately, many people tend to ignore unusual spots on the skin unless they present a cosmetic concern. However, sometimes these spots are actually cancerous tumors, and without prompt treatment, they can cause serious damage, possibly even death.
The three most common forms of skin cancer are:
- Basal cell carcinoma may look like a flat brownish spot, a waxy lump, or a recurring sore that never quite heals.
- Melanoma often resembles a mole, though it is likely to change in size, color, or shape over time.
- Squamous cell carcinoma may have the appearance of a flat, scaly lesion or firm, red bump.
What happens if skin cancer is not treated?
If the tumor is not removed, cancerous cells can travel through lymph nodes, blood, and body tissue, causing the disease to spread. Melanoma is the most aggressive common skin cancer, and therefore the most likely to spread to distant areas of the body and vital organs. However, even a slow-growing tumor has potential to affect other areas. Additionally, even localized cancer can grow into a large tumor or ulcer, which can be disfiguring.
How you can protect yourself
The two most important things you should know about skin cancer are:
- UV exposure dramatically increases your risk – Steps such as wearing protective clothing, staying indoors during peak sun hours, and wearing sunscreen may save your life.
- UV protection reduces but does not eliminate the risk – No matter how careful you are, it is imperative that you check your skin regularly (including areas that never receive sun exposure) and see a dermatologist if you notice any suspicious lesions. Furthermore, everyone should have skin cancer screening twice a year.
Do not take chances with your skin or your life
If you have a suspicious skin lesion, or if you are due for a cancer screening, call us at (905) 524-1712 for an appointment.