Living on the islands, it’s virtually impossible to avoid sun exposure. Plus, the beach is part of our lifestyle. The problem is that exposure comes due in the form of skin damage and potentially skin cancer. The more you expose your skin to the sun, the greater the possibility of developing skin cancer on your face, ears, arms, lips, hands, legs, neck, and scalp. One thing that people don’t know is that skin cancer, particularly melanoma, can also form on areas that are rarely exposed to the sun, such as the palms, your genital area, and beneath your fingernails or toenails.
Types of skin cancer
Basal cell carcinoma. Basil cell growths usually occur on areas that are frequently exposed to the sun such your arms and face. Basal cell carcinoma may look like a reddish patch on your skin that won’t heal, a flesh-colored or brown scar-like lesion, or a waxy scar.
Melanoma. Melanoma often appears on the face or the trunk of men and on the lower legs of women. But understand that melanoma can develop anywhere on your body, even on skin that has rarely or never is exposed to the sun. A mole that changes in size, color, or bleeds should be checked by Dr. Matsuda or Dr. Sheu immediately. As for not so obvious areas, new dark spots on the skin, black or brown streaks beneath a toenail or fingernail, or a bruise on your foot that won’t heal should be checked as well as they may be signs of melanoma.
Squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinomas form on areas of your skin that are directly exposed to the sun, such as ears, hands, and face. This type of skin cancer develops in people with darker skin more than basil cell carcinoma. A squamous cell carcinoma usually looks like a hard reddish bump on the skin, an open sore that bleeds, or a scaly patch on your lips.
Regular visits to a dermatologist
As we age, sun exposure is a cumulative time bomb of sorts. Because of that, skin cancers begin to develop even if you’ve been diligent about sun protection in your later years. Regular yearly visits to Matsuda Dermatology are recommended so that we can catch any skin cancers before they become more serious. Call us at 808-949-7568.