HealthWatch: Skin Cancer

Health Watch

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Which is why you need to know the signs of skin cancer and how to protect yourself. When detected early skin cancer is highly treatable.

Terri Adrian has spent much of her life in the sun, “Love it, makes me feel good, makes me happy,” Terri Adrian said with a smile.

Terri never worried about getting skin cancer, “Never really thought much about applying sunscreen,” said Terri.

Earlier this year Terri believed she had a mole on her neck that was growing, “I new it was different, it didn’t belong there,” said Terri.

So she went to Dermatologist Dr. Daniel Hertel at Aurora BayCare Medical Center wanting it removed, “I didn’t think it was cancer I just thought it was a growth,” said Terri.

However, Dr. Hertel suspected it could be skin cancer so they decided to take a biopsy of the growth, “Her diagnosis was a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma in situ,” explained Daniel Hertel, MD, dermatologist, Aurora BayCare Medical Center.

The diagnosis scared Terri, “I was a little frightened.”

Terri decided to have Dr. Hertel surgically remove the remainder of the skin cancer, “A lot of people enjoy the reassurance of having something removed that we can submit to the pathologist to confirm that it was all removed,” said Dr. Hertel.

Terri is lucky her cancer was caught early. Dr. Hertel says it was likely caused by long term sun exposure. He says ultraviolet light exposure is the most recognized risk factor for skin cancer, “Even one tan bed use before the age of 35 can significantly increase ones risk of skin cancer, sunburns can increase the risk of skin cancer, tanning can increase the risk of skin cancer,” said Dr. Hertel.

Dr. Hertel says people should self check their moles and skin for signs of cancer, “So anything that is new, growing, bleeding or symptomatic is something that is worth mentioning to your doctor,” said Dr. Hertel.

Because catching skin cancer early can save your life, “It is very treatable if its caught early and it can be a very deadly skin cancer if it is allowed to invade and spread to other parts of the body,” explained Dr. Hertel.

The best way to reduce your risk of skin cancer is by using the right type of sunscreen and reapplying every two to three hours- or more if you’re sweating or swimming, ” It should be an SPF of 30 or higher which means its blocking 97-percent of the ultraviolet rays or more. It should be broad spectrum meaning it protects against ultraviolet A and B,” said Dr. Hertel.

Terri still spends a lot of time in the sun. However, she has changed her relationship with it by wearing more clothing, seeking shade and “I sunscreen all the time,” laughed Terri.

In addition to sunscreen Dr. Hertel says you should avoid the sun during peak hours from 10 a.m. until around 2 p.m., wear sun protective clothing, long sleeves, pants and a hat.

To learn more you can call AuroraBayCare at 866-938-0035 or email healthwatch@aurorabaycare.com.

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