(WKBN) – With the sun out more this summer, it’s a good time to start thinking about skin cancer risks.
Older people are more at risk for skin cancer, especially those who spend a lot of time in the sun.
At Salem Regional Health Center, doctors see a lot of farmers come in with skin cancer. They have been conducting screenings on people who live there.
Just in the last month, they’ve been amazed by the number of people who have come in with late-stage skin cancer.
“We see a lot of skin cancers out there. We see large fungating skin cancers,” said Dr. Austin Fredickson. “In the last month, I have pictures of people with masses out of, large masses, multi-centimeter masses in their scalp or off their nose that have been growing for months or years. They didn’t seek treatment until someone made them come in.”
Waiting too long to seek medical treatment is one of the biggest problems that patients and doctors will face. Early detection is key to beating almost any type of cancer.
There are some things to look for to catch skin cancer early.
Doctors say to look for a mole that is discolored or shaped strangely. Sometimes, the skin will feel like sandpaper.
Farmers, even the ones who wear sunscreen, often miss the tips of the ears.
Doctors say to look at the scalp, ears, neck and arms — anywhere that would typically see a lot of sun exposure.
“When you have a large skin cancer, you’re going to have to excise more of the tissue than you would when it’s a nice small little mole. That can be disfiguring, and you might need to get plastic surgery in order to get the whole thing out,” Dr. Fredickson said. “Hopefully, you catch it before it goes to other areas of the body, but not always.”