Skin cancer is still a relatively new concern amongst Americans. Just a few decades ago, tanning was a common practice, whether this was done indoors or out. Our desire for golden brown skin leads to the development of multiple types of indoor tanning equipment. While there remain thousands of tanning salons throughout our country, more people are becoming aware of the dangers that come from excessive exposure to UV light.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five people in our country will be diagnosed with some type of skin cancer. The most concerning type, melanoma, is a particular concern for those who engage in or have engaged in the use of indoor tanning equipment. More than 400,000 new skin cancer diagnoses each year are thought to be the result of indoor tanning.
Your dermatologist in Huntington discusses the importance of early detection
Before skin cancer, is abnormal cell development, or actinic keratosis. These areas of abnormal cell activity appear as small red or skin-toned lesions. Skin in the affected area may appear scaly or thick. A single lesion may develop or multiple. Most often, we see facial lesions or lesions on the ears or backs of the hands. It is at this time when we want to perform treatment, before cells have mutated to skin cancer.
Treatment for precancerous cells
At the Dermatology and Cosmetic Laser Center, we encourage annual skin cancer screening for all adults. The earlier that we can identify abnormalities in the skin, the better chance we have at preventing the need for advanced skin cancer treatment such as surgical excision, which may leave a scar.
One of the ways in which precancerous lesions are treated is with photodynamic therapy, or PDT. This non-surgical procedure involves the application of Levulan, a light-sensitizing medication, to the skin. The topical solution remains on the skin for a few hours before we follow up with an application of light. The activation of medication with blue light leads to the generation of reactive oxygen radicals in the skin. This oxygenation process destroys both precancerous and cancerous cells while also improving the overall health and appearance of the skin. Due to the minimal risk of scarring, photodynamic therapy may be ideal for the treatment of facial skin cancer.
Learn more about how to protect your skin. Call the Dermatology and Cosmetic Laser Center today.