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Health Screenings

Questions About Skin Cancer? We Have the Answers


What is skin cancer?


Skin cancer is a condition characterized by the abnormal growth of skin cells, often caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds. There are different types of skin cancer, including melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma.


How can I protect myself from skin cancer?


Protecting yourself from skin cancer involves adopting various preventive measures, including:

Limit Sun Exposure: Avoid spending extended periods in direct sunlight, especially during peak UV hours (10 am to 4 pm).
Wear Protective Clothing: Use wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants to cover exposed skin.
Apply Sunscreen: Use broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 on all exposed skin, and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
Seek Shade: Stay in the shade whenever possible, especially during peak UV hours.
Avoid Tanning Beds: Artificial sources of UV radiation can also increase the risk of skin cancer.
Protective Eyewear: Wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays to protect your eyes and the skin around them.
Examine Your Skin: Regularly check your skin for any unusual moles or changes and report them to a healthcare professional.


Who is at risk of developing skin cancer?


While anyone can develop skin cancer, certain factors increase the risk, such as:

UV Exposure: Excessive exposure to UV radiation from the sun or artificial sources.
Fair Skin: People with fair skin, light hair, and light eyes are at higher risk due to less melanin, which provides natural protection from UV radiation.
Family History: A family history of skin cancer can increase the likelihood of developing it.
Moles: Having numerous or atypical moles can increase the risk.
Weakened Immune System: Individuals with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to skin cancer.
Previous Skin Cancer: A history of skin cancer increases the risk of developing new skin cancers.


Is it important to wear sunscreen on cloudy days?


Yes, it is essential to wear sunscreen on cloudy days as well. Clouds do not block UV rays entirely, and UV radiation can penetrate through cloud cover, leading to skin damage and an increased risk of skin cancer. Always apply sunscreen regardless of the weather conditions.


Can I still get enough vitamin D while protecting myself from the sun?


Yes, it is possible to get enough vitamin D without risking excessive sun exposure. While sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, you can obtain it through other means like vitamin D-rich foods, supplements, or fortified products. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine the right approach for meeting your vitamin D needs safely.


How often should I perform skin self-examinations?


Regular self-examinations of your skin are crucial for early detection. Aim to conduct a thorough skin check once a month. Pay attention to changes in moles, new growths, or any unusual skin developments. If you notice anything suspicious, promptly schedule an appointment with a dermatologist.


Are there any specific precautions for children?


Yes, children are more susceptible to sunburn and long-term sun damage. Protect them by using sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30, dressing them in protective clothing, and encouraging them to seek shade during peak UV hours. Keep babies under six months old out of direct sunlight and dress them in lightweight clothing that covers their arms and legs. Always consult a pediatrician before using sunscreen on infants.

Expert Cancer Care

Our caring team of experts are here to provide you with a custom-tailored treatment plan unique to your diagnosis, tumor size, location and involvement. Click on the button below to explore available cancer screenings and treatment options.

Should You Get Screened for Head and Neck Cancer?

Head and neck cancer is a term used to describe a variety of cancers that occur in the head and neck region. This includes the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, salivary glands, nasal cavity, and sinuses. The most common type of head and neck cancer is squamous cell carcinoma, which accounts for more than 90% of cases. This blog will guide you through the symptoms of head and neck cancer, the diagnostic process and treatment options.

Causes of Head and Neck Cancer:

The exact cause of head and neck cancer is unknown, but there are several risk factors that increase the chances of developing this type of cancer. The most significant risk factors include:

Tobacco and Alcohol Use: Tobacco and alcohol use are the leading causes of head and neck cancer. Smoking and drinking together increase the risk of developing this type of cancer more than either habit alone.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV): HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that can cause certain types of head and neck cancer, including oropharyngeal cancer.
Age: The risk of developing head and neck cancer increases as you get older.
Gender: Men are two to three times more likely to develop head and neck cancer than women.
Poor Nutrition: A diet lacking in fruits and vegetables may increase the risk of head and neck cancer.

Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer:

The symptoms of head and neck cancer depend on the location of the cancer. Common symptoms include:

  • A lump or sore that does not heal
  • Persistent pain or discomfort in the mouth, throat, or ear
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • Persistent cough or sore throat
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Ear pain
  • Numbness or weakness in the face

Diagnosis of Head and Neck Cancer:

If you have symptoms of head and neck cancer, your doctor will perform a physical exam and may recommend further tests. These may include:


A small piece of tissue is removed from the affected area and examined under a microscope to check for cancer cells.

Imaging tests:

These may include X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, or PET scans, which can help to determine the size and location of the cancer.

Treatment of Head and Neck Cancer:

The treatment of head and neck cancer depends on the location and stage of the cancer. Treatment options may include:


The cancerous tissue is removed surgically, along with any affected lymph nodes or other tissue.

Radiation Therapy:

High-energy radiation is used to kill cancer cells.


Drugs are used to kill cancer cells.

Targeted Therapy:

Drugs are used to target specific cancer cells.

Prevention of Head and Neck Cancer:

The best way to prevent head and neck cancer is to avoid the risk factors associated with this type of cancer. This includes:

  • Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption
  • Eating a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Protecting yourself from HPV by practicing safe sex and getting vaccinated

In conclusion, head and neck cancer is a serious condition that requires prompt diagnosis and treatment. If you have symptoms of head and neck cancer, it is important to see your doctor right away. By taking steps to reduce your risk of developing this type of cancer, you can help to protect your health and well-being.


At Laurel Cancer Care, we understand how hard it can be to choose the perfect team for the treatment of head and neck cancer. Our highly trained physicians take a multidisciplinary approach to create your individualized treatment plan. Click on the button below to learn more.

Things to Consider When Planning Your Prostate Cancer Screening

The benefit of regular screening is to catch cancer before symptoms occur. When caught in its earlier stages, prostate cancer is more treatable.

This might make it seem like prostate screening is always a good thing, but there are some issues surrounding screening that make it unclear if the benefits outweigh the risks for most men.

To ensure screening is right for you, look at the risk factors to see if they apply to you and talk with your healthcare provider. The American Cancer Society recommends men make an informed decision with their health care provider on whether to be screened for prostate cancer and when is a good time to start screening.

Consider these ages and factors when determining the best time to start discussion about screening:

  • Age 50 for men who are at average risk of prostate cancer and are expected to live at least 10 more years
  • Age 45 for men at high risk of developing prostate cancer. This includes African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative (father or brother) diagnosed with prostate cancer at an early age (younger than age 65).
  • Age 40 for men at even higher risk (those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age).

Learn more about the types of prostate cancer screenings by clicking HERE.


Prostate cancer that is detected early, when it is still confined to the prostate gland, has the best chance for successful treatment. Our caring team of experts are here to provide you with a custom-tailored treatment plan that is unique to your diagnosis, tumor size, location and involvement. Click on the button below to learn more.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Do You Have A Screening Routine?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. One in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. This month is a good time to encourage routine care and testing to detect early breast cancer.

Breast cancer forms in the cells of the breast. Although mostly found among women, there are some cases where it appears in men.

Symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • A lump in the breast
  • Change in size, shape and appearance of the breast
  • Dimpling or changes to the skin over the breast
  • Peeling or flaking of the skin surrounding the nipple (the areola)
  • Redness or pitting of the skin over the breast

If you find a lump or other change in your breast — even if a recent mammogram was normal — don’t wait, make an appointment with your doctor.

The American Cancer Society recommends these tips about breast cancer screenings.

How often should I get a mammogram?

Women between the ages 50-74 years old are at average risk for breast cancer and can get a mammogram every two years.

It’s recommended women who are 40-49 years old should talk with their healthcare provider to discuss when they should start routine screenings and how often.

What are the different types of breast cancer screenings?


A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. For many women, mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. At this time, a mammogram is the best way to find breast cancer for most women of screening age.

Breast Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

A breast MRI uses magnets and radio waves to take pictures of the breast. Breast MRI is used along with mammograms to screen women who are at high risk for getting breast cancer. Because breast MRIs may appear abnormal even when there is no cancer, they are not used for women at average risk.

Other Exams

A clinical breast exam is an examination by a doctor or nurse, who uses his or her hands to feel for lumps or other changes.

Breast Self-Awareness

Being familiar with how your breasts look and feel can help you notice symptoms such as lumps, pain, or changes in size that may be of concern. These could include changes found during a breast self-exam. You should report any changes that you notice to your doctor or health care provider.

Having a clinical breast exam or doing a breast self-exam has not been found to lower the risk of dying from breast cancer.


Any breast lump or change needs to be checked by a health care professional to determine if it is benign or malignant (cancer) and if it might affect your future cancer risk. Click on the button below to learn more.

3 Common Types of Skin Cancer

Each year, there are 3.5 million cases of skin cancer diagnosed in the United States. As the most common cancer type, it is important to perform regular self-checks to catch any suspicious spots early. If caught soon enough, the treatment success increases significantly.

There are many types of skin cancer which can be more common in different areas of the body and may show up in a variety of forms. The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma is typically found on the head or neck and may first appear as a pale patch of skin or a waxy translucent bump. A telling sign is a blood vessel or indentation in the center of the bump. If the cancer spots develop on the chest, it appears similar to a brown colored scar or flesh-colored lesion. Watch for bleeding or oozing, this is a sign it is more developed.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma can also take the form of a lump on the skin. These are firm lumps and are rough on the surface, unlike basal cells which have a smooth and pearly appearance. This cancer type usually develops on the head, neck, hands or arms, but also may develop in other areas such as genital region or in scars or skin sores.

Merkel Cell Carcinoma

Merkel cell carcinoma appear as raised, flesh-colored moles that grow quickly. These are small tumors and typically appear on areas of the skin that are most exposed to the sun such as the face, neck or scalp.

What are the Signs of Skin Cancer?

Typically, skin cancer develop on exposed areas of the skin, making early detection more possible. It’s important to regularly examine your skin to catch any unusual changes to an existing mole or a suspicious growth.

Although skin cancer can develop in a variety of locations, and appear in different forms, there are common symptoms to look for when checking your skin for suspicious spots no matter the location. Here are some common signs of skin cancer to keep in mind:

  • An unusual skin growth or sore that has not gone away
  • Spots that are raised and/or bleed easily
  • The size and shape of the spot changes over time

When performing a self-screen, remember to check less exposed areas of the body, as these can still develop skin cancer although less likely: underneath nails, on the palms of hands, soles of feet, genitals and the eyes.

If you notice any of these symptoms, talk to your primary care provider or dermatologist about your concerns.

Expert Cancer Care

Our caring team of experts are here to provide you with a custom-tailored treatment plan unique to your diagnosis, tumor size, location and involvement. Click on the button below to explore available cancer screenings and treatment options.