Ways to Detect and Prevent Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers and nearly three and a half million people are treated each year. May is Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month and the sooner skin cancer can be detected, the sooner it can be treated and almost always cured. Here are ways to detect and prevent skin cancer.

Getting into a monthly habit of checking your skin for changes is ideal for detecting skin cancer and can even save your life. It’s never too soon to get into a regular routine yourself and very important to schedule a full body check with a dermatologist initially to establish what’s normal or treat any spots that aren’t. After a full check, you then will have a baseline starting point to continue checking things regularly.

So, we know why we need to do it—for detection—now, here’s what to look for in spots, moles, skin growths or changes:

  • Obviously, you want to look for new skin changes or growths, spots or moles.
  • Changes to size.
  • Appearance is pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black or multicolored.
  • Changes to color.
  • Has irregular outline.
  • Bigger than a pencil eraser.
  • Changes in texture.
  • Spot that has prolonged bleeding, itching, crusting or scabbing over a few weeks.

Preventing Skin Cancer:

  • Use sun screen of SPF 15 daily, and for extended outdoor exposure use water-resistant SPF 30 or higher. If sweating or swimming, reapply every 2 hours even with water/sweat resistant sunscreens.
  • Even on a cloudy day, the sun is still emitting rays, so if you’re outside, remember to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going out.
  • Don’t allow yourself to burn. Avoid tanning beds.
  • Cover your head and avoid direct sun exposure between 10 am and 3 pm.
  • Do your monthly checks and have annual full-body exams by a dermatologist.

Sunless spray tans are an effective way to get that healthy glow that most are looking for when tanning. There are many on the market now that do not leave that orange hue (actually, many tanning bed users can have that look). So, find ways to get the glow without the dangers from the sun’s rays and keep tabs on your skin.

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