May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month


Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States with more than two million skin cancer diagnoses annually. Many of these cancers can be prevented by protecting skin from excessive sun exposure and avoiding indoor tanning.

Risk factors

Exposure to sunlight: Exposure to UV radiation, either from the sun or tanning lamps, increases risk
Fair skin: People with fair skin, freckling or red or blond hair have a higher risk of melanoma
Moles: Certain types of moles increase a person’s chance of getting melanoma
Age: Chances of being diagnosed with skin cancer increase with age
Gender: Men have a higher risk of developing skin cancer than women

Signs and symptoms

Patients experiencing any of these symptoms should consult a physician.

Asymmetry: half of the mole does not match the other half
Border irregularity: edges of the mole are ragged or notched
Color: color of the mole is not the same all over
Diameter: the mole is wider than about ¼ inch


To diagnose or classify skin cancer, a physician may conduct the following screenings to improve the chances that the disease is found and treated successfully at an early stage:

Incisional and excisional biopsies:, remove a wedge of skin to look at the deepest layer; whether by incisional biopsy which removes only part of the tumor or by excisional biopsy which removes the entire tumor

Shave biopsy: the doctor shaves off the top layers of skin

Punch biopsy: a round tool cuts through all the layers of the skin and brings up a sample of tissue


If cancer is suspected, the patient will be referred to an oncologist who will conduct tests and determine the appropriate treatment plan. Our practice recognizes the
importance of comprehensive care close to home. We provide:

Comprehensive care, provided by board-certifi ed oncologists and experienced nurses and support staff

Precise radiation treatment, using leading-edge technology which provides fewer side effects

Systemic therapies, including chemotherapy, hormone, immunotherapy and bone-targeting treatments

Innovative clinical trials, providing the latest therapies through affi liations with The US Oncology Network, US Oncology Research and The Radiation Therapy Oncology Group

On-site support services, such as patient navigation, counseling, charitable assistance, nutrition planning and more

For more information, contact one of Minnesota Oncology's 11 clinic locations near you or learn more about our 60 physicians.




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