Skin Cancer and Sun Damage (cont.)
What are the symptoms of skin cancer?
The most common warning sign of skin cancer is a change on the skin, typically a new mole or skin lesion or a change in an existing mole.
When looking for melanoma, think of the ABCD rule that tells you the signs to watch for:
How is skin cancer diagnosed?
Skin cancer is diagnosed only by performing a biopsy. This involves taking a sample of the tissue, which is then placed under a microscope and examined by a dermatopathologist, or doctor who specializes in examining skin cells. Sometimes a biopsy can remove all of the cancer tissue and no further treatment is needed.
How is skin cancer treated?
Treatment of skin cancer is individualized and is determined by the type of skin cancer, its size and location and the patient's preference.
Standard treatments for non-melanoma skin cancer (basal cell or squamous cell carcinomas) include:
Standard treatments for melanoma skin cancer include:
How can I help prevent skin cancer?
Nothing can completely undo sun damage, although the skin can sometimes repair itself. So, it's never too late to begin protecting yourself from the sun. Your skin does change with age—for example, you sweat less and your skin can take longer to heal, but you can delay these changes by staying out of the sun. Follow these tips to help prevent skin cancer:
Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic, Department of Dermatology.
WebMD Medical Reference
Last Editorial Review: 11/20/2007
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