Meet Dr. Patty Lucey
Specialty care physician board-certified in dermatology, Stay Skin Healthy advisor
"I love dermatology because I get to treat what I think is the most import organ of the body... the skin."
True or False
Did You Know...
The truth about your skin and how to protect it.
1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70
Men are more likely to get skin cancer, including melanoma
Having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk of melanoma
Anyone can get skin cancer regardless of their skin tone
People with darker skin are more vulnerable to melanoma where sun exposure isn’t as common, such as the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet and under the nails
Tanning beds are NOT safer than the sun
Without sunscreen, the sun's UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 min
You can get sunburned even on a cloudy day—80% of the sun’s rays can pass through clouds
Bob Marley died at age 36 from a rare form of melanoma skin cancer that originated under his toenail
The sun can fade and damage your tattoos. Tattooed skin does not protect against skin cancer
Stay Skin Healthy
- Wear a broad spectrum SPF 30 (minimum) sunscreen and lip balm daily, even when it's not sunny out
- Reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours or more often if you are swimming or sweating
- Wear sunscreen over your tattoos and any skin exposed to the sun (This can also preserve the color and shape of your tats)
- Have your health care provider examine your skin every year or visit a dermatologist
- Check your skin every month, and talk with your health care provider about any changes
- Look for changes in your moles
- Completely avoid tanning beds
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and face from UV rays
The Future's So Bright
Types of Skin Cancer
Basal and Squamous Cell Skin Cancers
Basal and squamous cell skin cancers are the most common types of skin cancer. Both types start on the top layer of your skin and are generally caused by sun exposure.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer responsible for 8 in 10 skin cancers. Basal cell carcinoma tends to develop on the face, head and neck. If not treated and removed, basal cells can grow deeper into the skin and possibly the bones. Approximately 4.3 million cases of basal cell carcinoma are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.
Squamous cell carcinoma accounts for about 2 in 10 skin cancers. These cancers commonly appear on the face, ears, lips, neck and back of the hands. If not treated and removed completely, squamous cells can also grow deeper into the skin and are more likely to spread to other parts of the body than basal cells. Approximately 1 million cases of squamous cell carcinoma are diagnosed in the U.S. each year.
Most Deadly Type of Skin Cancer
While melanoma is not the most common skin cancer, it is responsible for the majority of skin cancer deaths. Melanoma develops when the cells that give skin the tan or brown color begin to grow abnormally out of control. Melanoma is caused by a variety of factors, including exposure to UV rays from the sun and tanning beds, but genetic and environmental factors can play a role as well.
Approximately 100,350 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year. Around 60% of those are in men. Anyone can get melanoma, however, if detected early, cure and survival rates dramatically improve. The most important warning sign of melanoma is a new spot on the skin or one that is changing in size, color or shape. This is why it is so important to do a monthly self skin exam and to have your health care provider examine your skin once a year. The following ABCDEs of skin cancer provide a good guideline. Any abnormalities should be reported to your health care provider immediately.
ABCDEs of Skin Cancer
It’s important to check your skin for suspicious moles once a month and report anything unusual to your health care provider. Remember the ABCDE rule:
A Asymmetry One half of the mole doesn't match the other
B Border irregularity Not uniform in shape
C Color Not uniform in color
D Diameter Greater than 6mm (size of pencil eraser)
E Evolving If you notice any change in size, shape or elevation of a mole, or experience any new symptoms such as bleeding, itching or crusting, see your health care provider promptly.
How to Conduct a Self-Exam for Skin Cancer
Celebs with Skin Cancer
Hugh Jackman - Treated for skin cancer at least 6 times.
Bob Marley - Had a rare form of melanoma that originated under his toenail.
Khloe Kardashian - Had a cancerous mole on her back removed in 2016.
Troy Aikman - Diagnosed with stage 2 melanoma in 1998.
Witney Carson - Diagnosed with melanoma on her foot.
Bethenny Frankel - Diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma in 2017.
Summer Sanders - Had three melanomas removed.
Jane Fonda - Had a cancerous growth removed from her lip.
Ali Fedotowsky-Manno - Diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma in early 2020.
Diane Keaton - First diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma at age 21.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson - Had skin cancer removed from his cheek.
Andy Cohen - Diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2016.