Summer is here and that means the days are longer, the weather is hotter, and there are more opportunities to be outdoors having fun in the sun. While enjoying the great outdoors, it's important to remember that the sun's rays can have harmful effects on the skin. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), about one in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime. With that number in mind, Drexel Medicine wants to help you better understand the disease and is offering a free skin cancer check.
Know the Types
According to the National Cancer Institute, skin cancers are named for the types of cells that become cancerous. The three most common types are:
Melanoma begins in pigment cells called melanocytes. Most melanocytes are in the skin. Melanoma can occur on any skin surface. In men, it's often found on the head, on the neck, or between the shoulders and the hips. In women, it's often found on the lower legs or between the shoulders and the hips. Melanoma is also the most likely type of skin cancer to spread to other parts of the body.
- Basal Cell Skin Cancer:
Basal cell skin cancer begins in the basal cell layer of the skin, which is the innermost layer of skin. It usually occurs in places that have been in the sun, such as the face and neck. This is the most common type of skin cancer for people with fair skin.
- Squamous Cell Skin Cancer:
Squamous cell skin cancer begins in squamous cells, which are just below the outer surface of the skin. It also occurs on sun-exposed areas of the body such as the face, ears and hands. In people with dark skin, squamous cell skin cancer is the most common type of skin cancer, and it's usually found in places that are not in the sun, such as the legs or feet.
Signs & Symptoms
Per the ACS, each type of skin cancer has its own distinct signs and symptoms.
- A large brownish spot with darker speckles
- A mole that changes in color, size, feel or one that bleeds
- A small lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear red, white, blue or blue-black
- Dark lesions on your palms, soles, fingertips or toes, or on mucous membranes lining your mouth, nose, or private areas
Basal Cell Skin Cancer:
- A pearly or waxy bump
- A flat, flesh-colored or brown scar-like lesion
Squamous Cell Skin Cancer:
- A firm, red nodule
- A flat lesion with a scaly, crusted surface
Get Checked! Free Skin Cancer Screening
Christina Chung, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Dermatology, will be offering FREE skin cancer screenings on Thursday, July 11, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Drexel Convenient Care Center located at the Shops at Liberty Place (16th Street between Market and Chestnut). You can walk right in and participate; no appointment is necessary.
Drexel Dermatology offers comprehensive services for all skin conditions, including skin cancer, moles and birthmarks, as well as cosmetic dermatology, pediatric dermatology, and any other skin-related concerns. To schedule an appointment with a Drexel Dermatologist, you can visit www.DrexelMedicine.org or call 1-866-DREXEL2 (373-9352).