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women are the lower legs and the back, for men it’s chest, stomach, and back. Melanoma affects people from age 20 to 50. Basal cell carcinoma occurs mostly in the sun exposed areas such as the face, ears, chest, back, and neck and affects people from middle age and up. It is important to understand that skin cancer affects everyone

or zit and sending it to the lab.” Treatment for skin cancer varies. “Most of the treatment for basal and squamous cell carcinoma is surgical. Primarily the abnormal areas are removed and the place is repaired, or some skin cancers are treated by getting the margin around the skin cancer and scraping and removing it. Sometimes it’s removed by liquid nitrogen which is used for precancerous cells. Some anticancer creams are used and in the case of melanoma it’s treated surgically and some forms of chemotherapy if it has spread to other parts of the body,” Dr. Shields says. Thee survival rate for skin cancer is high. Dr. Shields points out, “For basal and squamous cell carcinoma survival is close to 100 percent. For melanoma, if it’s caught early it can be treated by just removing it. If people wait too long, then it can be dangerous because skin cancer doesn’t hurt and we are in denial.” Although skin cancer is a serious and

“The he main cause of skin cancer is sun exposure and longterm ultraviolet light exposure...ultraviolet light damages DNA and there is a mechanism within our body that fixes that but eventually [the mechanism] gets broken down by the same thing that is damaging the DNA.” -Dr. David Shields and every age group. Dr. Shields stresses, “Any age can get skin cancer at any time.” Dr.. Shields says skin cancer is “primarily diagnosed by morphology, how things look, what the shape of things is and if a patient says they have something they didn’t have before. The doctor looks for certain characteristics and then a biopsy is done, [meaning] taking a little piece of the mole


June 2009  

605 Magazine June 2009 Edition

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