Dr. Mark

Dr. Mark Abdelmalek (L), Dr. Sandi Miller (M), Dr. Brett Miller(R) attend Mohs 50th anniversary gala in Chicago.

It was great to be in Chicago last week with Mohs Surgery friends and colleagues to celebrate Dr. Frederic Mohs and 50 years of Mohs meetings.  Mohs surgeons are an expertly trained group of dermatologists dedicated to the meticulous eradication of skin cancer and advancing the care for millions of Americans.

May is also skin cancer awareness month.  So often we casually talk about sunscreen and skin cancer.  It’s great that it can be a light conversation and thankfully is not usually a major medical issue for most, but this time of year is also a good opportunity to recall some skin cancer facts.

There are 2 important classifications of skin cancer to remember– and they mean very different things.  Non-melanoma skin cancers (Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma) are the most common types and are rarely life-threatening for most people.  Melanoma type skin cancer can be very serious if not caught early.

You can share these reminders from the Skin Cancer Foundation and the American College of Mohs Surgeons with loved ones this summer season, and especially when you come across any resistance.

Skin cancer can happen to you
– One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70*
– An estimated 178,560 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2018. Of those, about half will be noninvasive (aka “in situ” cancers confined to the top layer of skin only) and the other half will have an invasive component.*
– Organ transplant patients are approximately 100 times more likely than the general public to develop squamous cell carcinoma.*

You can do things to lower your chance of getting skin cancer
– Regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of getting squamous cell carcinoma by about 40%.*
– On average, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles with a history of more than five sunburns*
– Never visit a tanning salon.  Ever.  We don’t care if you are going on a cruise and need that “base tan.”  According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “Those who have ever tanned indoors have a 67% increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma and a 29% increased risk of developing basal cell carcinoma. Any history of indoor tanning increases the risk of developing basal cell carcinoma before age 40 by 69%.”*

There is help and great care out there for skin cancer
– In most cases, Mohs Surgery offers the highest cure rate for skin cancer- as high as 99% **
– Mohs Surgery treats skin cancer in high-risk areas like the face leaving the smallest defect possible and maximizing the aesthetic result.**

* Source: Skin Cancer Foundation website.  Click here for more skin cancer facts and links to original references.
** Source: American College of Mohs Surgery