Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention: A Discussion with Drs. Chappell and Rosso by Ben McCampbell
o you have a sore on your skin that just won’t heal, or a mole that has changed color or shape? It’s best not to ignore these, because they could be the beginnings of skin cancer. And skin cancer can be serious, even deadly. May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month, so let’s take a look at this disease—what causes it, what it looks like, and how to prevent it. We’ll also introduce you to some Odessa physicians who treat it, dermatologists Robert L. Chappell, Jr., M.D., and Ritchie O. Rosso, Jr., M.D. They’re good people to know in an area that has 256 sunny days a year and not very many shade trees. Skin cancer is by far the most common cancer in the world, accounting for about 75% of all cancer diagnoses. It’s the most prevalent form of cancer in the U.S. Each year more than 3.5 million skin cancers are diagnosed, which is more than breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancers combined. The incidence of skin cancer is increasing—between 1992 and 2006, treatment of nonmelanoma skin cancers increased by almost 77%! One in five Americans will develop some form of skin cancer over the course of a lifetime. The most common type of skin cancer, accounting for nearly three out of four cases (2.8 million annually in the U.S.), is basal cell carcinoma. Fortunately, it’s also the slowest growing. Basal cell carcinoma may appear as a flat, firm, pale area or small, raised, pink or red, translucent, shiny, pearly bumps that may bleed after a minor injury. There may be one or more abnormal blood vessels visible, a lower area in the center, and blue, brown, or black areas. Large ones may have oozing or crusted areas. Squamous cell carcinoma is somewhat more aggressive and is more likely to spread. It may show up as growing lumps, often with a rough, scaly, or crusted surface. Or it may manifest itself as a flat, reddish patch on the skin that grows slowly. Both types, basal and squamous, may first appear as a flat area showing only slight changes from normal skin. Of the 700,000 squamous cell carcinoma cases diagnosed annually, about 2% are fatal. 14 may 2014 an apple a day
The May 2014 issue of An Apple a Day magazine.