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carcinoma, melanoma....I don't know some kind of "noma" Part II

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

carcinoma, melanoma....I don't know some kind of "noma" Part II

Basal cell carcinoma is found 3.5 million times in 2 million people in the US alone yearly, which is a 300% increase since 1994 and it is the most common skin cancer. Basal cell carcinomas occur in the top layer of the epidermis.  Basal cell carcinoma IS caused by sun exposure and usually occurs in places that are most exposed: faces (noses!!), shoulders, backs, ears, necks, scalps.  But, they can occur in places that aren't super exposed to sun due to exposure to radiation, chronic inflammatory skin conditions, and complications of burns, scars, tattoos, infections, etc.  Who is at highest risk?  Those of us with light/fair skin and hair, blonde and red hair, blue/green/grey eyes.  Basal cell carcinomas are usually easily treated in their early stages, but they can spread to other areas and metastasize to internal organs requiring major surgical interventions and can even cause death.


Also, once you have a basal cell carcinoma, the risk of recurrence is quite high.


What do they look like?



 An open sore that bleeds, oozes, or crusts and remains open for a few weeks only to heal up and then bleed again. A persistent, non –healing sore is a very common sign of an early basal cell carcinoma. open2.jpg
redish1.jpgA Reddish Patch or irritated area, frequently occurring on the face, chest, shoulders, arms or legs. Sometimes the patch crusts, and it may also itch or hurt. At other times, it persists with no noticeable discomfort.redish2.jpg
bump2.jpgA Shiny Bump or nodule that is pearly or translucent and is often pink, red or white. The bump can also be tan, black or brown, especially in dark-haired people, and can be confused with a mole.bump1.jpg
pink1.jpgA Pink Growth with a slightly elevated rolled border and a crusted indentation in the center. As the growth slowly enlarges, tiny blood vessels may develop on the surface.bccnose.jpg
scar1.jpgA Scar-Like Area which is white, yellow or waxy, and often has poorly defined borders. The skin itself appears shiny and taut. This warning sign can indicate the presence of small roots, which make the tumor larger than it appears on the surface.

scar2.jpg

Why is this information important to us?  Well, more and more adults in their 20's and 30's have been recently diagnosed with the cancer.  The rate is becoming alarming, and despite knowing the risks of sun exposure, there are so many specifically women (but in light of 'Jersey Shore' apparently a decent amount of men too) that go to tanning beds and expose themselves to high amounts of UV A/B rays to get a little bit of "color", and they look good, but they are putting themselves at an extremely high risk for basal cell carcinoma.


How else can we prevent basal cell ca?



  • Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM (or just limit total sun exposure...if you do, lube up with sunblock!)
  • Do not burn.
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
  • Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses....um, that's why big glasses are totally in!!
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day (fair skinned people should probably use SPF 25)
  • Apply sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
  • Examine your skin head to toe every month.
  • See your doctor every year for skin mapping!!
Try using Jergen's face and body self tanner....or Mystic Spray Tan!  You don't have to have that horrible orange glow anymore and you are saving yourself from a future of surgical interventions and skin cancer!!

Yours in good Health

B

2 Comments:

At April 21, 2010 at 7:50 AM , Anonymous Becky said...

Brigid - great post. Just made an apointment with a DR to get a skin map... you are the best! -B

 
At April 27, 2010 at 11:04 AM , Blogger Nurse Bridgid said...

That is awesome!! It is not the most exciting day, but for sure gives you piece of mind!!! Have fun ;)

 

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