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Healthy Balance

Skin Cancer 101

skin cancer 101Do I have skin cancer? I wonder this often. I’ve had tons of sunburns. Moles and freckles populate my skin everywhere. Dermatologists removed two of them. And there’s the family history of skin cancer to consider.

But how do you know if you have skin cancer? What does it look like? Are you at risk?

The answers don’t always conform to conventional wisdom. In this myths and facts article, for instance, we learn that:

  • Not all skin cancer looks the same
  • The sun doesn’t have to be out to give you skin cancer
  • People with darker skin can get skin cancer

You might not worry too much about getting a mole removed. But there’s the scary fact that skin cancer can spread to your lungs and brain.

None of us should ignore the risk of skin cancer. That’s why we brought together this Skin Cancer 101 guide.

Stop Skin Cancer Before it Starts

Of course, the best treatment for melanoma or any skin cancer is prevention. You need to use sunscreen more often than you might think.

You should also consider going to the dermatologist for screenings. If you’re at all unsure what to look for, you’ll want a specialist to do a skin check from head to toe.

How is Skin Cancer Treated?

At UVA Health, we offer the latest advances in skin cancer treatment. That includes Mohs surgery, the procedure of choice for removing cancer.

But sometimes, where your skin cancer shows up may mean you need more than your basic treatment. Take, for instance, what happened to Marcia Oglesby. She had melanoma on her finger. Doctors wanted to amputate. Getting a second opinion at UVA Health meant she kept her finger. That’s because we had skin cancer specialists who could work with a hand surgeon to perform a successful operation.

Read our Skin Cancer 101 Posts

You have questions. Or maybe you just don’t know what you don’t know. The articles in this guide dig in. Keep reading — then make sure to share with those you care about.

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Sun Safety: 8 Myths About Skin Cancer Debunked
Prevention 8/13/2015

With UVA dermatologist Mark Russell, MD Myth #1: Skin cancer only affects people with light or fair skin. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. Although more common in those with a fair complexion, it does not discriminate against skin color, race, age or any other demographics.…

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Skipping Sunscreen? A Skin Cancer Patient’s Story
Patient Stories 6/12/2012

Did you know? One person dies of melanoma every hour, and it’s the most common form of cancer in adults 25-29 years old. Every spring, we begin seeing the magazine articles and public service announcements reminding us to wear sunscreen to prevent skin cancer. But if you’re a fair-skinned 20-something…

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