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The perpetually sunny weather in Southern California means that skin cancer is always a concern for residents of the La Jolla area. If you are not careful and constantly applying sunscreen, you are certainly exposing yourself to greater risk of skin cancer than is necessary. But sun exposure isn’t the only factor that will impact your risk of skin cancer.

While some of the most common forms of skin cancer such as squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma are often linked to sunburn, there are other types which may have other risk factors. Malignant melanoma is essentially a cancerous mole. While excessive sun exposure may increase your risk for malignant melanoma, it is by no means the primary risk factor.

The number of moles you have is more of a determining factor for developing malignant melanoma than how often you sunbathe. In general, the more moles you have, the greater your risk of malignant melanoma.

Recently, an international group of scientists have identified two genes which determine the number of moles on your body, and your associated risk of developing skin cancer. According to an epidemiologist from Leeds University in England, approximately 8% of the population is genetically predisposed to be at greater risk of skin cancer. The team of researchers conducting this study is currently working to develop a blood test that will identify individuals who are at risk of skin cancer due to their genetic makeup.

Other skin cancer risk factors include:

  • Family history of skin cancer
  • Whether you go to a tanning salon and use a sunbed

Keep an eye out for the following skin cancer warning signs:

  • Moles that increase in size
  • Moles that are 6mm in diameter or larger
  • Moles that change color and become patchy or darker
  • Moles that are crusty, bleeding, itchy, or painful
  • Moles that change in shape, especially if they are becoming irregularly shaped

La Jolla Cosmetic Laser Clinic offers a variety of skin cancer treatment options. Depending on the type of skin cancer and severity of your condition, Dr. Mani may recommend one of the following treatments:

  • Excision – removal of the entire thickness of your skin at the cancerous region
  • Cryotherapy – freezing the cancerous mole or lesion
  • Imiquimod cream – an immune system reactant that results in inflammation and destruction of cancerous cells
  • Mohs surgery – typically performed for cases of melanoma

If you believe you may have a mole that has become cancerous, it is crucial to meet with Dr. Mani at once. Early treatment increases your likelihood of a full recovery.

Please contact La Jolla Cosmetic Laser Clinic today to schedule your skin cancer evaluation. Dr. Mani serves patients in the La Jolla, California area.