Ten Important Ways To Help Avoid Skin Cancer This Summer, Courtesy of Laser Skin Care Center in Long
By John Grossi
Welcome to May in Southern California. Each morning we wake up to gray clouds that cover the skies, but by afternoon, the clouds scatter and the sun peaks through with glowing warmth and beautiful sunshine. As if to remind us that soon our 5 months-long summer will begin.
Blue skies and sunshine rank high among the reasons millions of us live along the California Coast, and indeed, spending a third of the year laying out at the beach is a perk to appreciate.
However, if you are not using protection and monitoring your skin, sun bathing can unfortunately be highly detrimental to your health.
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, so in preparation for the day we ditch work early and hit the beach for some summer sun, we thought we would check in with our local Laser Skin Care Center, right here in Long Beach. Who better than two of the region’s most respected dermatologists to remind us of how important it is to protect our body’s largest organ?
“Awareness is key because so many people view skin cancer as ‘someone else’s problem.’ They may think that it only affects older people or fair-skinned people. The reality is that about 3 million skin cancers a year are diagnosed and they come from every age, skin color, skin type, and ethnicity,” says Laser Skin Care Center’s Dr. Glassberg.
Dr. Glassberg is one of the founding dermatologists of the massive and impressive Laser Skin Care Center, located in the heart of Long Beach and servicing all of Southern California with all-inclusive, state-of-the-art medical and cosmetic services and doctors.
Among other specialties, Dr. Glassberg is the practice’s primary Mohs Micrographic surgeon, which means he removes cancers from the skin on a regular basis. Laser Skin Care Center’s office alone diagnoses around 2,000 skin cancers a year. Thanks to a thorough and regular screening of all their patients, and an expert staff, the majority of detected cancers can be removed before they become deadly.
Dr. Bryna Kane, the senior founding member at Laser Skin Care Center, urges the public to understand how important regular skin care checkups are to their long-term health.
No matter why you book an appointment at Laser Skin Care Center—be it cosmetic, or for dermatology purposes—it is standard practice for the Laser Skin Care Center experts to complete a full skin check each time you are in. Dr. Kane wants patients to make a clear connection between the fact that her medical office diagnoses 2,000 skin cancers a year, and the vast majority of those are treatable if caught early enough.
That means thousands of lives saved each year due to early detection. Dr. Kane recognizes, however, that for every patient who books a regular appointment at Laser Skin Care Center, there are many more who do not. Without early detection, skin cancers can quickly become deadly when they spread away from the skin.
The bad cases of skin cancer they do see, aren’t generally a different “type” of cancer. They’re just too far progressed.
This past year, Dr. Kane was pained to watch a young patient, with a young family here in Long Beach, pass away due to a melanoma that started behind his knee and had spread to his groin by the time she saw him. In this particular case, the man had known something was wrong for a few years, but unfortunately sought medical help from untrained eyes (meaning a primary doctor rather than a dermatologist), and the mass was ignored until it was too late.
This very sad case is the reason for the first bullet point of important steps each and every one of us can take to prevent skin cancer:
1) Regularly see a dermatologist to have screenings. At least once a year, and more often if you have a history or live a lifestyle that exposes you to lots of sun.
2) Always wear sunscreen when you are outside. Every day, even if you’re only outside for a short period of time.
3) There is no such thing as a good amount of sun exposure. All sun exposure is damaging your epidermis. Skin damage is cumulative so the less the better.
4) There is also no such thing as “it’s too late to start protecting yourself.” Even if you’ve sunbathed for many years, the minute you start protecting yourself the better chance you have at avoiding skin cancer. Remember, skin cancer is cumulative.
5) Cover yourself and wear sunscreen even when the skies are cloudy. The UV rays are still beating on your skin.
6) If you have to be in the sun, avoid the times when the UV rays are highest, from 11am-2 pm.
7) Never assume your skin type or color is not susceptible to damage. All skin types and all ages of people suffer from skin cancer.
8) If you’re worried about Vitamin D intake, try cheap and affordable supplements rather than excess time in the sun.
9) Self-diagnose often using the A-B-C-D-E moniker. Look for A (Asymmetry); B (Borders- are they uneven); C (Color- are there a variety of colors such as black, brown or tan); D (Diameter- has it grown larger than ¼ inch); and E (Evolution- is it changing in size, shape, color, elevation, another trait, or new symptom).
10) It’s worth repeating- see a dermatologist REGULARLY for screenings. Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancers and is very treatable when caught early!
Have a happy summer, but cover up and stay safe!