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South Nassau Communities Hospital Cancer Doctors Advise on Skin Cancer Prevention

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people diagnosed annually.

Oceanside, NY, June 13, 2013 --( The skin is the body’s largest organ and when it soaks up the sun, it helps produce Vitamin D, which is vital to maintaining a healthy calcium balance, immunity, blood pressure and insulin secretion.

“When skin is exposed to the sun for extended periods of time repeatedly, however, the risk can far outweigh the reward,” said Rajiv Datta, MD, Medical Director of South Nassau Communities Hospital’s Gertrude & Louis Feil Cancer Center.

That’s because excessive sun exposure puts an individual at great risk for skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people diagnosed annually. In addition, the number of new cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year in the U.S. exceeds the combined diagnoses of new cases of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers.

Besides sun exposure, other risk factors for skin cancers include having many moles; having a fair complexion; and a personal or family history of skin cancer.

If you enjoy basking in the sun, whether sun bathing, gardening, playing a round of golf or even attending your child’s sporting events, Dr. Datta advises following sun safety steps recommended by the American Academy of Dermatologists (ADD):
• Minimize exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
• Apply sunscreen, with at least a SPF-15 that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, to all areas of the body exposed to the sun
• Reapply sunscreen every two hours, even on cloudy days
• Wear clothing that covers the body and shades the face
• Avoid exposure to UV radiation from sunlamps or tanning salons
• Have an annual skin cancer screening

The three types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer and it usually shows up on the face, ears, scalp, neck, or upper body as a red patch; a pink, red, or white bump that is shiny or pearly; a crusty, open sore that will not heal; or a scar-like area. Squamous cell carcinomas account for about 2 out of 10 skin cancers and commonly appear on sun-exposed areas of the body such as the face, ear, neck, lip, and back of the hands. Squamous cell carcinomas often look like warts or open sores with a thick, rough, scaly patch that can bleed if bumped. They tend to be more aggressive than basal cell cancers and are more likely to be found in men than women.

As the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma requires aggressive and skillful treatment. Malignant melanomas are usually small brown-black or larger multicolored patches, plaques or nodules with irregular outline. They may crust on the surface or bleed. Many of them are found in pre-existing moles.

Surgery is the most common treatment option for skin cancer.

“Approximately 90 percent of all skin cancer patients are treated surgically,” said Dr. Datta. “Our team of surgical oncologists combines patient-centered treatment plans with leading-edge surgical technologies to remove skin cancer.”
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South Nassau Communities Hospital
Damian J. Becker

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