Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. However, some people may not even know that they have it. When Lisa Klaric visited her dermatologist she was surprised to learn that a dry patch of skin near her lip was more serious than it looked. "Little precancerous spots, not a skin cancer yet but on its way to becoming skin cancer," says Dr. Rick Noodleman.
Dr. Rick Noodleman says he's seeing an increase in younger patients developing skin cancer. And a new study reflects that trend. It shows the number of women under 40 with the two most common types of skin cancer has tripled since the late 1970s. 40 year old Lisa is convinced her days as a sun worshipping teenager are catching up with her. "My first experience in a bikini was baby oil and I got blisters," says Lisa.
Dr. Noodleman says if caught early, skin cancer can easily be treated. Thats why it's important to pay attention to changes in your skin. "Basically watch for areas on the skin that have appeared that weren't there before, especially in sun-exposed ares. Roughened areas, discolored areas, areas that bleed easily, areas that don't look like much like maybe a rash or a rough spot that just don't quite go away," says Dr. Noodleman.
Dr. Noodleman plans to freeze off Lisa's precancerous spot. But there are other, new treatments to help sun damaged skin. A Fraxel Laser stimulates the body to form healthy cells to replace damaged ones. Or patients can undergo several treatments under this red omnilux light. "What this light will do is basically destroy sun damaged areas on skin so they won't become precancerous spots," says Dr. Noodleman. But he says your first line of defense is prevention. Simply wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 every day. Lisa plans to make it a habit not just for herself, but for her two boys as well.