While at first thought one might assume southern states would have the highest rates of skin cancer given the long, hot summer days and abundance of sunshine, in fact states like Florida and Texas have comparably low rates of skin cancer, primarily because people who live with such regular sunshine learn early on how to make sure their skin is properly protected. Instead, the states with the highest skin cancer rates are farther north and have milder climates. The states with the top five highest rates of skin cancer are Vermont, Utah, Minnesota, Idaho, and Delaware.
If you are a resident of Delaware, you need to take the sun seriously and always wear proper protection in the form of clothing that offers skin coverage and sunblock anywhere you can’t. Nationwide, one in four Americans is likely to get skin cancer at some point, which means that in the state’s most populous city of Wilmington skin cancer will likely be a reality for nearly 20,000 current residents, and for nearly 250,000 residents of Delaware skin cancer treatment will at some point be needed.
Sun damage is far and away the lead cause of basal cell carcinoma (or BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), the two most common forms of non-melanoma skin cancer. (Melanoma is also primarily caused by sun damage to the skin, and it is much more serious and potentially fatal than non-melanoma skin cancer, but it accounts for only about five percent of total skin cancer cases.) A family history of skin cancer does put you at higher risk, but it’s your own history of covering your skin properly or not that will be the determining factor as to whether or not you develop skin cancer.
A sunburn is not really a burn, but is actually radiation damage to the skin. The sun’s ultraviolet light breaks down cells and damages their DNA, and with a few bad burns or consistent exposure even without a bad burn, this cellular DNA damage can eventually prompt cells to turn cancerous and spread out of control. Basal cell skin cancer starts in the basal cells, the cells that sit just below the epidermis and divided frequently to create new skin cells. Squamous cell cancer happens in the squamous cells, which are tasked with creating the exterior lining of your skin. Both types of cells are very near the surface of the body thus readily exposed to UV light. This is why skin cancer is most common on the backs of hands, the neck, and the face — these body parts are always exposed to sunlight.
To prevent skin cancer, you have to protect your skin, it’s that simple. (Note that in rare occasions, radiation treatment used to help cure other internal cancers can create a heightened risk for squamous cell skin cancer, so take extra precaution with your skin if you have undergone previous cancer treatments.)
Looking online for images of skin cancer symptoms will show you a range of skin cancer pictures that may look quite different from one another. BCC and SCC skin cancer symptoms to know and watch for include:
Pearlescent raised bumps that may be white, pink, or reddish
Scaly skin patches that flake away occasionally
Sores that fester and bleed easily and will not heal
Raised red patches or blood vessels extruding through the skin
Irregularly shaped and colored moles
Pale skin that appears like scar tissue but has not clear origin
If you see these common symptoms of skin cancer, get to a dermatologist in Delaware right away for a skin check. And in fact, annual skin checks should already be a part of your healthcare routine, or semi-annual skin cancer screenings if you are at elevated risk.
Skin cancer doctors in Delaware have many different options for treatment, so you need to find a skin cancer doctor nearby who offers the type of treatment you want. If you are looking for non-invasive skin cancer treatment in Delaware, ask the dermatologist or oncologist with whom you are consulting about Superficial Radiation Therapy vs. Mohs surgery, as both have a very high cure rate for non-melanoma skin cancer. Superficial Radiation Therapy, or SRT, can be performed as an almost painless outpatient procedure using the FDA cleared SRT-100 Vision from Sensus Healthcare and can lead to a 98% cure rate with the only side effects usually being slight redness and tenderness at the treatment site.