FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM JULY 5, 2018 • HEALTH • THE QUEENS COURIER 33
Don’t let the summer sun blind you to this lesser-known skin cancer
Most of us look forward to the balmy
breezes and cheerful sunshine brought
about by spring and summer, especially
those of us living in climates where
winter is long, gloomy and bitterly cold.
Yet as we get our shorts, polo shirts and
swimsuits out of storage, it’s important
to remind ourselves to stay sun smart and
vigilant against skin cancer.
Melanoma is a skin cancer many of us
are familiar with. But have you heard of
a skin cancer called cutaneous squamous
cell carcinoma (CSCC)? If not, you might
be surprised to learn that CSCC is actually
one of the most common skin cancers
in the world - even more common than
melanoma with an estimated 700,000 new
cases diagnosed in the U.S. annually.
CSCC can also be a deadly skin cancer.
Every year, an estimated 7,000 people in
the U.S. die of CSCC. And in the southern
part of the U.S., the number of deaths
from CSCC may actually be higher than
deaths from melanoma.
“Th e good news is that CSCC is usually
highly treatable when detected
early,” notes Dr. Sunandana Chandra,
a medical oncologist at the Robert H.
Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center
Northwestern University. “Th at’s why it
is important to know about CSCC, so you
can take the necessary precautions to protect
yourself, know how to identify early
signs of the cancer, and to understand
your treatment options if it progresses.
Being vigilant about your skin and reaching
out to your doctor early with any concerns
will allow you to consider more
treatment options and possibly have better
So what do you need to know about
CSCC? Here are three important tips:
Take a Closer Look at Your Skin. Since
early detection is key, it’s important to
know your skin and what to look for. As
a precaution, the Skin Cancer Foundation
recommends that adults check their skin
monthly and schedule an annual dermatologist
visit for a full-body skin exam.
CSCC typically appears on sun-exposed
parts of the body, such as the face, head
and neck, and can take several forms,
including rough or scaly red patches,
raised lumps, open sores or wart-like
growths. If you notice an unusual spot on
your skin, be sure to schedule an appointment
with your doctor immediately.
Know the Stats, Know Your Risk.
Exposure to harmful UV rays is the main
cause of CSCC, but there are also certain
groups of people who are at higher
risk. Men are three times more likely than
women to be diagnosed with CSCC, and
the cancer tends to occur more frequently
in elderly patients ages 65 and older.
Also, those living in the southern parts of
the U.S. should be particularly thoughtful
about how much sun exposure they
Involve Your Doctors and Ask the Right
Questions. If you think you have CSCC,
don’t wait. Talk to your doctor right
away. Oft en CSCC can be easily cured
in its early stages with the help of a dermatologist
or Mohs surgeon. However,
if the CSCC progresses and grows bigger
or spreads, a multidisciplinary team
of healthcare providers may be needed to
help assess the situation and work with
you to fi gure out your options. Th is team
may include your original dermatologist
or Mohs surgeon plus additional physicians
and surgeons from other specialties.
Good questions to ask your healthcare
team when it comes to CSCC include:
What treatment options can I consider,
and how do they work? What are the
side eff ects of these treatments? What
results can I expect from these treatment
options? Are there any advances in CSCC
treatment to be aware of? What other
options may I consider (e.g., clinical trials)?
If you think you or someone you
know may have CSCC, contact a doctor
and visit SkinCancer.org.
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