Skin Cancer Awareness Month: Signs & Treatments
Spring is here and although we all like to have fun in the sun, it’s important to take the proper precautions to prevent skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the USA, with more people being treated for skin cancer than all the other types of cancer combined!
It most often develops on skin that has been exposed to the sun, although it can occur on other parts of the skin. Although it can be quite minor, it’s important not to dismiss how serious skin cancer can be. That’s why our care team in Sussex County has put together a useful guide for Skin Cancer Awareness Month to help raise awareness about preventing and treating skin cancer in seniors.
Symptoms of skin cancer
Like many cancers, early detection is critical to treating skin cancer, so it’s very important to be aware of all the signs and symptoms.
Skin cancer can appear to be:
- Waxy-looking or pearly-looking bumps
- Flat, brown lesions that look like scars
- Sores that keep bleeding, scabbing and returning
- Firm red nodules
- Flat lesions that have a crusty surface
- Lesions that itch, burn and feel painful
- Lesions with an irregular border, with red, pink, white or blue portions
- Moles that change size, color, texture or bleed
You are at an increased risk of skin cancer if you spend a lot of time in the sun (especially without sun protection), have had sunburns in the past, have fair skin, if you have moles, or if you have a family history of skin cancer.
Treatments for skin cancer
Skin cancer starts on the surface layer of the skin – the epidermis. This is the thin, protective layer of your skin that gets burned if you’re out in the sun too long. It’s made up of three types of cells — the squamous cells, basal cells and melanocytes — and treatment depends on which cells are affected and how far the cancer has progressed. In many early cases, the cancer can be cut out, burned off or otherwise removed. In later stages, patients may need radiation, chemotherapy and surgery, especially if it has moved into the lymph nodes or other organs.
Skin cancer prevention tips for seniors
Of course, prevention is always better than a cure. Fortunately, many cases of skin cancer are preventable! Here are some effective ways to prevent skin cancer:
- Sunscreen – Use a high SPF (sun protection factor) sunscreen every day, all year round. When applying sunscreen, make sure to focus on your face, neck, hands, arms and legs since you can even burn in cloudy weather!
- Sun protection – To increase your sun protection, always wear a wide-brimmed hat outdoors. It’s also a good idea to wear a light covering over your arms and legs.
- Shade – Don’t go outside during the periods of the day when UV (ultra violet) rays are the strongest. Between 11am and 3pm, stay indoors or in the shade.
- Medications – Some medications, including antibiotics, can make you more sensitive to the sun. Research side-effects carefully and take extra precautions when taking new medications.
- Self-screen – The most important thing to remember is that if you have a sore or mole on your skin that looks irregular, or is painful or bleeding – it’s best to have a doctor check it out as soon as possible.
Short-term rehab and recovery at our CCRC in Newton, NJ
Is your loved one recovering from skin cancer treatment? Bristol Glen is part of the United Methodist Communities network of independent senior living communities offering safe, professional short-term rehab services in New Jersey.
We’re proud to say that we’ve recently earned a place on the U.S. News Best Nursing Homes and Short-Stay Rehabilitation Lists, reflecting our dedication to exceptional COVID-19 protocols, the quality of our nursing and therapy associates onsite, our fall prevention initiatives, our discharge rates and much more.
If you are looking for post-operative or post-hospitalization care for your loved one, then please contact United Methodist Communities at Bristol Glen today or visit our website at https://umcommunities.org/bristolglen/