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About East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current | View Entire Issue (June 26, 2019)
WHAT IS SKIN CANCER
This type of cancer develops in one of the tissues in the skin. When caught early, most instances
are considered minor problems and are easily removed. However, if left unresolved, they can lead
to a fatal disease.
Regular annual checkups are encouraged by the American Geriatrics Society. They report that
more than 2 million cases of skin cancer are discovered annually in the United Sates.
There are three common
types that experts look for
• Basal cell carcinoma: The
most common type in the
country, starts in the outer layer
of the skin and slowly grows in
its original location without
• Squamous cell cancer:
Developed from flat squamous
surfaces on the skin, it is
commonly caused by exposure
from the sun. It’s more likely to
spread than basal cell but
chances are still relatively low;
• Melanoma: This is the
most dangerous form of skin cancer, which often spreads to important parts of the body. It occurs
by affecting specialized cells in the skin that produce melanin. If caught early, 97 percent of
melanomas can be cured, but it becomes more difficult to treat in later stages.
The Skin Cancer Foundation
reports the odds of developing skin
cancer rise as you age. In fact, about
50 percent of Americans who
live to age 65 will have experienced
at least one type of skin disease.
Before enjoying the summer outdoors,
don’t skimp on the sunscreen.
The most important thing to do to lessen the risk of skin cancer is to avoid staying out in the
sun. When going outdoors, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when temperatures permit. During
sunny days, make sure to liberally apply sunscreen with a UPF of 30 or higher on exposed skin.
Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen after every few hours if you will be outside for long durations.
If you find yourself diagnosed with skin cancer, a specialist may offer different treatment
methods based on its severity.
Sometimes surgical extraction can be performed to easily remove the growth. For early cases, an
incision usually eradicates the disease. However, for more advanced stages, extensive surgery may
be required to eliminate deeper lesions.
Serious cases which have spread may require chemotherapy and radiation to shrink or eliminate