While we are now heading into the winter months of Michigan, that doesn’t mean we still don’t need to think about skin cancer. Yes, it’s easy to think that skin cancer and summer go together and it’s true that people usually get more exposure during the longer days of summer. But winter creates exposure, too. If you’re skiing at Boyne Highlands or maybe on a trip to Vail, you need to wear sunscreen on your face because the sun hits you from above and below. Below? Yes, when it reflects back up off of the snow.
At Elite Plastic Surgery, you may not think of us along with skin cancer. But one of our areas of expertise is skin cancer removal and subsequent reconstruction of the area afterwards.
Skin Cancer – True or False?
So, since we may not think as much about skin cancer in the winter, let’s see how you do on this little test to see just how much you know, or don’t know, about this common form of cancer. See how you do. Each question is true or false.
- Skin cancer is the United States’ most common form of cancer.
- Skin cancer can be prevented.
- Using sunscreen will prevent skin cancer from developing.
- Melanoma is the most common type of skin cancer.
- You won’t get skin cancer from tanning beds.
- Most skin cancer cases can be cured.
- People with moles have a higher risk for melanoma.
- Most people who get skin cancer die from it.
- True. About one million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. More than that number probably go undiagnosed. The danger for those who don’t seek diagnosis is the potential, particularly with melanoma, of the cancer growing and spreading to other parts of the body.
- True. There are ways to lessen your exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. Sun damage is cumulative, caused by UVA rays (they penetrate the skin and cause wrinkles) and UVB (they cause sunburn). Wear sun-blocking clothing. Wear sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Examine your skin regularly. Don’t use tanning beds.
- False. Sunscreen doesn’t allow you to spend unlimited time in the sun. It helps block harmful rays, but you need to limit your exposure.
- False. Melanoma is only about five percent of skin cancers, but it does cause the majority of deaths.
- False. Tanning beds increase your chances of developing skin cancer, not the other way around.
- True. All skin cancers, if caught early enough, can be cured with surgery.
- True. People with lots of moles or especially large moles are at a higher risk for melanoma. Check your moles constantly to see if they change shape or color.
- False. If detected early enough, most skin cancer cases are resolved successfully. But vigilance and early detection are key.
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Living in Central Michigan so close to Lake Michigan and all of the other water around here, we are exposed to the sun almost every day in the spring and summer. But don’t forget about covering up in the winter, too! Don’t take skin cancer lightly. And if you need surgery to remove the growths and repair your skin after skin cancer, trust the expert team at Elite to do a great job. Winter’s a great time to schedule the surgery and recover before the warm weather. Call us for a consultation or appointment, 616-459-1907.