This week on WJON's Health Matters program I talked with CentraCare Dermatologist Dr. Liz Blixt about Skin Cancer.  Dr. Blixt says there are 3 types of skin cancer;  squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma.  Blixt says melanoma is the most deadly of the 3 but basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma are both more common.  She says with all types of skin cancer the earlier it is detected the better the outcome.  Blixt says basal cell tends to grow localized and rarely spreads, squamous cell when detected early can be removed with surgery but it can spread especially if the person has a compromised immune system.  She says early on melanoma can be surgically removed but has a much greater risk to spread to other parts of the body than the other forms of skin cancer.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Blixt says risk factors for skin cancer include exposure to extra violet rays that includes tanning beds and sunlight.  She says other risk factors include genetics, fare skinned, a compromised immune system and chronic lymphoma.  Dr. Blixt suggests that people apply sun screen every 4 hours while exposed to the sun especially those area with direct contact to the sun like ears, nose, the top of a person's head if they are bald and arms and legs.  She encourages people to wear long sleeve shirts and hats to further protect themselves from the sun when possible.

Dr. Blixt addressed concerns about moles on the body saying moles should be a-symmetric, have a regular border, and an a-symmetric color.  She says they pay more attention to larger than normal moles, ones with multiple colors or than aren't a-symmetric.

Health Matters airs on WJON Mondays and Saturdays from 9:10-10 a.m.

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