House Calls

SUM 2019

House Calls Magazine is a quarterly publication that focuses on health and wellness. It includes a wide assortment of articles with topics on the latest health and wellness information, nutrition, safety, lifestyles, and more.

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h o u s e c a l l s { summer 2019 } 23 P H O T O G R A P H S K I N C R E A M B Y A L E N K A D R / S H U T T E R S T O C K emerge as small, oftentimes shiny bumps on the skin, frequently on the face, ears, neck, and shoulders. Squamous cell carcinomas usually appear as red, scaly patches on the rim of the ear, face, lips, or mouth. These two cancers are most common but less likely to spread and become life-threatening with early treatment. Doctors tailor treatment, which can take the form of surgery, topical creams, or chemo injections, according to the cancer's level of aggression. The deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma, is also fairly treatable, with a 99 percent five-year survival rate if caught before it spreads to the lymph nodes. "The key is to catch it early," says Dr. Rahbar, who explains that a change in the appearance of the skin is one of the biggest red flags. "When a mole that you've had for a long time suddenly gets larger, changes color, starts bleeding or tingling, or becomes more raised, that's an indicator that it might be biologically active." She also points to the "ugly duckling"—a mole that differs from others on your body—as a warning sign. Half of malignant melanomas are self-detected, so the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) emphasizes checking yourself regularly. Though skin cancer can affect anyone, those with fair skin and who burn easily are most susceptible. In people of color, the disease frequently develops in places not commonly exposed to sunlight, such as the palms, soles, groin, inside of the mouth, and under one's nails, reports the AAD. In these patients, diagnoses typically occur in the cancer's later stages when treatment proves more difficult. No matter your skin tone, however, the best way to minimize risk is by limiting exposure to UV rays with protective clothing, sunscreen, and shade. Sunburn Sunburn can happen in just 15 minutes. We're all familiar with the painful redness that arises several hours to a day after unprotected "Our skin is the barrier between inside and out, protecting us from external influences and infection." DR. FIONA RAHBAR Catching Cancer Roughly every hour, one American dies from melanoma, reports the American Academy of Dermatology. But when detected early, skin cancer is highly treatable, so the American Cancer Society recommends conducting at-home checks once a month. While in front of a mirror, look at all parts of the legs, arms, hands, and feet (including soles and between toes), then use a hand mirror to examine the back, neck, scalp, and buttocks. Keep in mind the ABCDEs of melanoma and contact a primary care doctor or dermatologist immediately if any moles or pigmented marks exhibit: Asymmetry, with one half unlike the other Borders that are irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined Colors that vary, with shades of tan, brown, black, and even white, red, or blue Diameter of greater than 6mm, or the width of a pencil eraser Evolution, meaning a change in size, shape, or color Track your results with the AAD's free downloadable body mole map: www.aad.org/ public/spot-skin-cancer/free-resources. Charleston's average UV index in July and August is 10, indicating that unprotected sun exposure presents a "very high risk of harm" (11+ is the highest UV category). National Weather Service

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