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Skin Cancer Risk Factors for Patients in NJ, CT, and MD

Anyone can develop skin cancer, but several risk factors may increase the likelihood that a person will experience the disease. People with these risk factors should be especially focused on skin cancer prevention to preserve their health and well-being.

The oncologists and other healthcare professionals at Regional Cancer Care Associates (RCCA) are well-trained and experienced in using the latest approaches to treat melanoma, as well as other forms of skin cancer that have reached advanced stages. With 25 conveniently located offices throughout New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C., area, Regional Cancer Care Associates is a trusted source for excellent skin cancer care provided close to home.

Skin Cancer Signs and Symptoms

Broadly, skin cancer is the genetic mutation and abnormal reproduction of the skin, the body’s largest organ. It is the most common form of cancer. Skin cancer manifests as three main types, which are:

  • Squamous cell carcinoma: This form of cancer entails the irregular reproduction of the square cells found at the top of the skin’s outer layer, the epidermis.
  • Basal cell carcinoma: This cancer attacks the basal cells, which are round-shaped and located just below the squamous cells, forming some of the lower sections of the epidermis.
  • Melanoma: Melanoma is cancer of the melanocyte cells, which are in the deepest part of the epidermis. Melanocyte cells produce melanin, the pigment that determines skin tone.

Melanoma is responsible for the most deaths of any skin cancer because it can metastasize quickly, spreading to other parts of the body.

Beyond these three major forms of skin cancer, there also are other, less common skin cancers, such as Merkel cell carcinoma, a rare but very serious disease that occurs when Merkel cells located next to nerves in the skin, become cancerous. 

Early recognition of skin cancer is a key to successful treatment. People should conduct regular self-examinations of their skin using the ABCDE method, as follows: 

  • Asymmetry:A mole or lesion is irregularly shaped, or asymmetrical.
  • Border: The mole has an uneven or scalloped border.
  • Color: The mole consists of many colors.
  • Diameter: The mole’s diameter is larger than the size of a pencil eraser.
  • Evolving: Moles, unusual growths, bumps, sores, or lesions have changed in size, shape, color, or height over a short or extended period.

If any or all these signs are present, consult a primary care doctor or dermatologist. In addition to these indicators, other signs that may indicate potential skin cancer include:

  • Pale or red, scaly skin patches
  • A waxy, translucent bump on the skin
  • Flesh colored-lesions
  • Lesions that bleed, are brown, have rough surfaces, or become crusty

Early detection is crucial no matter what type of skin cancer is found, but this is particularly true in the case of melanoma. If treated before spreading to surrounding lymph nodes, the five-year survival rate for melanoma is 99%. That figure slips to 30% if it spreads to distant organs.

Skin cancer specialist examining patient’s back for signs

Skin Cancer Risk Factors

Several risk factors can increase the chances of a person developing skin cancer, although sun exposure by far poses the greatest risk for developing melanoma or another form of skin cancer. The more ultraviolet (UV) rays the skin encounters, the greater the chance skin cells will become malignant.

Other factors that increase the risk of contracting skin cancer include:

  • A personal or family history of skin cancer
  • Relatively light or pale skin tone
  • Skin more susceptible to burning, freckling, or looking red or blotchy due to sun exposure
  • Green, blue, or light-colored eyes
  • Red or light-colored hair
  • Many moles covering the skin

Additionally, age can contribute to the likelihood of developing skin cancer. The American Cancer Society reports that the average age at skin cancer diagnosis is 65.

Skin Cancer Treatment at Regional Cancer Care Associates

Several effective and targeted treatments for skin cancer are available at Regional Cancer Care Associates. These options include:

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapies harness the power of the body’s own immune system to identify and attack cancerous cells.

Chemotherapy

Administered orally or intravenously, chemotherapy (“chemo”) drugs kill cancerous cells, using the bloodstream as a pathway to reach malignant cells. Chemo is frequently used in conjunction with surgery or radiation.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy is similar to chemotherapy, except the drugs used focus specifically on mutations in the cancerous cells.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays, such as electrons, protons, or X-rays, among other beams and particles, to slow or eliminate skin cancer cells. It can also be used to treat returning skin cancers.

In addition to the above therapies offered at RCCA, dermatologists and dermatologic surgeons in some cases will use approaches such as Mohs micrographic surgery or cryosurgery to treat skin cancers.

Seek Skin Cancer Treatment at Regional Cancer Care Associates

The oncologists and other cancer specialists at Regional Cancer Care Associates have extensive experience treating patients with skin cancer using the latest therapies. With offices across New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and the Washington, D.C. area, RCCA offers patients expert, compassionate care and advanced treatment for cancers and blood disorders. Visit one of these office locations today to learn more about skin cancer treatment or to request an appointment.

Innovative, proactive, personalized care for skin cancer

From empowering you with information and tools to fully understand skin cancer, to treating it quickly and comprehensively, RCCA is committed to your care. As one of the nation’s largest cancer physician networks, we have the reach, the resources and the localized accessibility to treat your very individualized needs with top-quality care and unfailing compassion.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call (844) 346-7222. You can also schedule an appointment by calling the RCCA location nearest you.

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