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Skin Cancer Duluth

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What Causes Skin Cancer?

With other types of cancer drawing more headlines, people often forget how common skin cancer really is. The average person is more likely to get skin cancer than any other type. Fortunately, it is also one of the most treatable and most preventable. Understanding what causes skin cancer can help you limit your risk.

Skin Cancer Duluth

*individual results may vary.

What is Skin Cancer?

Skin cancer develops when skin cells experience genetic changes that cause them to behave abnormally and grow too quickly. The type of cell that undergoes this change determines the type of skin cancer, with basal and squamous cell carcinomas forming in deeper layers of the skin and melanoma affecting pigment-producing cells called melanocytes. You can control a large part of your skin cancer risk by avoiding several important factors. 

What Causes Skin Cancer?

Many factors can contribute to the genetic changes that make cells turn into cancer. The most common, easily preventable cause is UV damage from sun exposure. UV light breaks DNA, and repeated exposure causes increasing amounts of damage. Exposure to DNA-damaging chemicals can also occur, but this is much less common.

Some people have an increased risk for skin cancer due to factors they cannot control. People with a family history of skin cancer may have genetic traits that make their cells more vulnerable to DNA changes. People with very fair skin or a large number of moles are also at increased risk. 

The good news about skin cancer is that understanding your risk lets you take preventative actions and schedule regular screenings. Skin cancer is extremely treatable when caught early, and even the most dangerous type, melanoma, is almost always treatable if it has not progressed. 

Request a Consultation Today!

Our expert providers here at Twin Ports Dermatology would be happy to meet with you for an in-person consultation. Simply fill out the form on this page, and one of our trusted staff members will reach out to you promptly to schedule your consultation.

How to Prevent Skin Cancer

The best way to prevent skin cancer is to protect your skin from UV damage as much as possible. Important precautions include:

  • Wearing a dermatologist-approved sunscreen and reapplying as directed
  • Staying in the shade whenever possible
  • Avoiding exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM, the hours of highest UV intensity
  • Wearing protective clothing with SPF
  • Using a supplement such as Heliocare® that increases skin’s natural protection
  • Using extra caution on reflective surfaces such as water, snow, and sand

How is Skin Cancer Diagnosed and Treated?

Our dermatologists at Twin Ports Dermatology perform skin cancer screenings, which we recommend for most people once a year. During this process, they will examine every part of your skin for unusual spots or changes. If your dermatologist has concerns, the next step is often a biopsy. A pathologist examines a sample of the possible cancer under the microscope to determine whether cancer is present. If so, it can often be removed with a procedure such as Mohs surgery. 


*individual results may vary


Take the First Step - Request A Consultation

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If you would like to schedule an in-person consultation, please fill out the form on this page and one of our knowledgeable medical staff members at Twin Ports Dermatology will reach out to you promptly. You can also call our Duluth, MN office directly to schedule: 218-302-1000.

Twin Ports Dermatology serves the greater Duluth area. We’re the only locally owned private dermatology clinic & medspa in the area.

*Individual results may vary