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Is Skin Cancer Contagious?

Dermatologist examining the arms of female patient in clinic

There are many myths around medical conditions such as skin cancer, and it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. Our doctors at Harris Dermatology in Naples and Fort Myers, FL, are here to help debunk some of these myths, including common ones such as who is affected by it and whether or not it is contagious.

Here are just a few of the most common myths heard about skin cancer–and the truth behind them!

Myth: Skin cancer is not a serious disease.

Fact: Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the United States, with more than 5.4 million cases of squamous cell and basal cell skin cancers diagnosed each year, as reported by the American Cancer Society. This does not include the almost 100,000 cases of melanoma that are found in individuals in America as well. Skin cancer can be a severe disease, with some types of skin cancer spreading quickly and becoming life-threatening.

Myth: Only people with fair skin are at risk for skin cancer.

Fact: People of all skin colors can get skin cancer. However, those with fair skin are at greater risk because they have less melanin, which offers some protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays.

Myth: Skin cancer is contagious.

Fact: Skin cancer is not contagious. You cannot “catch” it from someone else.

Myth: Tanning beds are safe because they use UVB rays, which do not cause skin cancer.

Fact: Both UVA and UVB rays can cause skin cancer. In fact, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, studies have shown that people who regularly use indoor tanning beds before the age of 35 are 75% more likely to develop melanoma skin cancer than those who do not.

Myth: If you have a mole, it will turn into skin cancer.

Fact: Most moles are benign (non-cancerous) and will never turn into skin cancer. However, it’s essential that you watch for changes in your moles, as this can be a sign of melanoma.

Schedule a visit today at Harris Dermatology

If you have any concerns about skin cancer or if you would like to schedule a skin exam, please call Harris Dermatology to request an appointment. We offer two convenient locations in Naples and Fort Myers, FL, and are open to new patients interested in general, cosmetic, and medical dermatological care.

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