The American Skin Association reports that one in three will suffer from a skin condition or disease in their lifetime. These conditions vary from eczema and rosacea to life-threatening diseases like melanoma skin cancer.

Root of concern

Overexposure to the sun’s rays causes damage to the skin, skin cells and DNA within. This damage can lead to skin cancer, the most commonly diagnosed cancer in America. Yet, most cases are preventable by taking two simple steps to preserve skin health: reducing intentional UV exposure, such as indoor or outdoor tanning, and increasing sun protection through the use of sunscreen and protective clothing.

Incidences rising

Skin cancer greatly affects quality of life and can be disfiguring or even deadly. Medical treatment can be costly. The number of Americans who have had skin cancer at some point in the past 30 years is estimated to be higher than the number for all other cancers combined, and skin cancer incidence rates are rising worldwide. Each year in the U.S., nearly 5 million people are treated for all skin cancers combined, with an annual cost estimated at more than $8 billion.

"The number of Americans who have had skin cancer at some point in the past 30 years is estimated to be higher than the number for all other cancers combined, and skin cancer incidence rates are rising worldwide."

If you or someone close to you has been diagnosed with skin cancer, know that when caught and treated early, nearly all skin cancers can be cured.

Treatment options

There are many acceptable treatment options, including freezing (cryosurgery), scraping and burning, surgical removal (excision) and laser surgery. All require the surgeon to estimate how extensively to treat the area around the tumor.

One treatment method, called Mohs surgery, removes the guesswork. The Mohs procedure involves surgically removing skin cancer layer by layer and examining the tissue under a microscope until healthy, cancer-free tissue around the tumor is reached. Because Mohs surgeons are specially trained in surgery, pathology and repair, Mohs surgery has the highest success rate of all skin cancer treatments.

The gold standard

Developed in the 1930s, Mohs surgery has become the most advanced, precise and effective treatment for an increasing variety of skin cancer types. With the Mohs technique, physicians can precisely identify and remove an entire tumor while leaving the surrounding healthy tissue intact and unharmed.

“There are many advantages to Mohs surgery compared to other skin cancer treatments,” said Dr. John G. Albertini, president of the American College of Mohs Surgery (ACMS). “These include preserving the maximum amount of healthy tissue, leaving the smallest surgical defect possible, and ensuring the best aesthetic result, all with the highest cure rate and lowest recurrence.”  

Stay on top

Skin cancer is serious, and can be deadly. But it can be prevented by treating your skin thoughtfully. When it comes to your skin’s health, prevention is worth a little attention.