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Your Guide to Skin Cancer Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment Options

Living in Florida, you’re well aware of the lingering threat of skin cancer — the sunshine that brightens our days also poses a serious risk. At Academic Alliance in Dermatology, we understand that while enjoying the beautiful weather is one of the perks of living here, it comes with the responsibility of taking care of our skin. 

Join us as we dive into the important aspects of skin cancer, including symptoms, prevention strategies, and the latest treatment options, giving you the tools you need to enjoy the sun safely.


Types of Skin Cancer

Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

The most common type of skin cancer, BCC typically appears as a slightly transparent bump on the sun-exposed skin, such as the head, neck, and arms. Although BCC grows slowly and is rarely fatal, early detection is crucial to prevent significant skin damage.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)

Often characterized by a hard, scaly red bump or ulcer, SCC is more aggressive than BCC and can spread to other parts of the body if not treated promptly. It commonly occurs on areas of the body frequently exposed to UV radiation.


The deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma is known for its ability to spread rapidly. Melanoma can appear as a new, unusual growth or a change in an existing mole. The ABCDEs of melanoma — Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color variation, Diameter over 6mm, and Evolving characteristics — are key to identifying potential melanoma.

At Academic Alliance in Dermatology, we take this further to include the ABCDEFGHIs of melanoma. Click here to learn more about our melanoma algorithm. 

Symptoms of Skin Cancer

Skin cancer symptoms vary depending on the type but generally include:

  • Non-healing sore or sore that heals and returns
  • Existing moles that begin to grow or change significantly in texture or color
  • Scaly patches

It’s crucial to consult a dermatologist if you notice any of these signs or if a new mole or discolored area of the skin suddenly appears and grows.

Risk Factors and Prevention

Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light is the most significant risk factor for most skin cancers. To protect your skin, consider the following guidelines:

Wear a Broad-spectrum, Physical Sunscreen

Choose a physical sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and reapply it every two hours or more often if you are swimming or sweating.

Wear Protective Clothing

Long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats can shield your skin from harmful UV rays.

Seek Shade

Avoid the sun during peak hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are strongest.

Early Detection and Diagnosis

Regular skin checks by a qualified dermatologist are essential. Advanced diagnostic tools such as dermoscopy and skin biopsies help dermatologists diagnose skin cancer accurately. Regular self-examinations are also crucial; they empower you to recognize early changes in your skin and seek timely medical advice.

Skin Cancer Treatment Options

Treatment depends on the type, location, and stage of skin cancer:

Surgical Options

Techniques like Mohs surgery offer a high success rate by precisely removing layers of cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue.

Non-surgical Options

Treatments such as topical medications, cryotherapy, and photodynamic therapy are effective for less advanced skin cancers.

Advanced Treatments

For more severe cases, options like radiation therapy or chemotherapy may be necessary.

Living with and Beyond Skin Cancer

Post-treatment care is crucial for monitoring recurrence and managing the health of your skin. Adopting a skin-healthy lifestyle and continuing regular check-ups with your dermatologist are key to keeping your skin healthy. 

Stay Safe from Skin Cancer

Understanding the risk factors, recognizing the early signs, and getting regular skin evaluations are essential steps in preventing and treating skin cancer. At Academic Alliance in Dermatology, we’re here to help you not only treat skin cancer but also understand and prevent it.

Protect your skin and your health. Schedule a skin examination today at Academic Alliance in Dermatology. Let our team of dermatology providers offer you personalized care tailored to your skin’s needs.

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