Texas reaches alarming skin cancer statistic

Texas reaches alarming skin cancer statistic
Thursday, September 26, 2013 - 4:27pm

Here in South Texas, summer seems to last year round--so does the danger of skin cancer.

Across the state, an estimated 5,000 cases of melanoma are expected to be diagnosed, and an even more staggering statistic looms for the year 2014.

"Texas has now, or is expected to be the third highest in terms of states in the U.S. for the instance of melanoma, and that is a sobering statistic unfortunately," said Dr. Suresh Ratnam with Texas Oncology.

Despite the myth that Caucasians and those with lighter skin are the only ones affected by skin cancer, everyone should take precaution against the sun.

"A person of brown skin does still carry a significant risk of skin cancer depending on their exposure to ultraviolet light," Dr. Ratnam explained.

You may not be planning on using too much sunscreen once October rolls around, but here in the Valley where seasons range from hot to hotter, doctors stress the importance of using sun block even after the summer months.

"Keep in mind even though we don't have the heat, the sun exposure carries with it the ultraviolet exposure, so therefore unfortunately in our neck of the woods, skin cancer risk is year round," said Dr. Ratnam.

Oncologists recommend using the ABCD rule when checking for signs of skin cancer. 

A = asymmetry

B = border

C = color

D = diameter

Look to see if the mole is asymmetrical in shape, size or thickness; also, if the border is jagged or irregular.  Pay attention to the color, if it contains various shades of tan, brown or black.  Finally, the diameter--the larger the mole, the more dangerous the risk of melanoma.

If you find a skin abnormality that has any of these symptoms, it is important to be examined by a dermatologist.

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