Save Your Skin
Each year in the United States more than 3.3 million people are treated for skin cancer. The data speaks for itself – take the necessary precautions to make sure you don’t get skin cancer.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer and occurs in the cells of the skin. Exposure to the sun is typically the root cause; however, it can develop on areas that don’t get exposure to the sun. As well, skin cancer can spread to other parts of the body, including internally if not treated.
Are you at higher risk?
Some people are at a higher risk to develop skin cancer based on their skin type. If you are more prone to sunburn or are rarely exposed to the sun, you should be extra careful and take preventive measures. It’s very important to know that the probability of skin cancer is cumulative and increases if you have had a history of bad sunburns as a child. Everyone is susceptible to skin cancer regardless of age, race or ethnicity.
- Avoid tanning beds and tanning booths
- For optimal protection, Consumer Reports suggests a chemical sunscreen with a 40 or higher sun protection factor (SPF). If you’re outside for long periods of time apply sunscreen every two hours, especially after swimming or sweating
- Cover up your skin with clothing – wear long-sleeve shirts and pants if possible
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes
- Consider a wide-brimmed hat to shade your face and neck
- If outside, seek shade frequently, especially if outside between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the sun is the strongest
- Avoid sunburn
Conduct a self-examination – know the symptoms and signs of skin cancer
Knowing what the signs of skin cancer are and conducting a self-examination may help find possible cancer areas. It’s important to know that a self-examination is not a substitute for seeing a professional. If you see any of the warning signs of skin cancer below consult with a specialist immediately.
- A mole, birthmark, beauty mark or any brown spot that changes color is a concern
- Changes in the size or texture of a mole, birthmark, beauty mark or any brown mark should be of concern
- A spot that continues to itch, hurt, scab, or an open sore that doesn’t heal within three weeks is a warning sign
If you work outside or spend time in the great outdoors wear protective clothing and apply sunscreen as recommended. Prevention is the key to avoiding skin cancer. Make the right choices to avoid damaging your skin.