With this month being Skin Cancer Awareness Month, it’s important to emphasize the significance of protecting your skin and getting an annual skin examination. It is estimated that over three million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every year. That means roughly one in five people in the U.S. will develop some form of skin cancer in their lifetime.
So, what can you do to take care of your skin and reduce the risk of skin cancer? Here are some tips from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) on how to do just that:
• Seek shade (when appropriate). Keep in mind that the sun’s harmful UV rays are most prevalent from 10am-2pm.
• Wear sun-protective clothing. Clothes that cover exposed areas of skin are ideal (ex. a long-sleeved shirt, pants, wide-brimmed hat).
• Apply sunscreen. Use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant one with an SPF of at least 30.
Since skin cancer is highly treatable when caught early, we encourage our patients to get their skin examined at least once a year. Whereas patients with a history of concerning lesions are seen more regularly. When conducting a skin cancer examination, we adhere to the ABCDEs of melanoma. They are as follows:
A = Asymmetry. In early forms, malignant melanomas are asymmetrical, meaning that you cannot draw a line down the middle and have equal parts on each side.
B = Border. Uneven borders with irregularities or blurs.
C = Color. Varying shades of brown, blue, or black.
D = Diameter. Melanoma tends to be larger than normal moles, ones the size of a pencil eraser are something that you should look at closely.
E = Evolving. Any changes in the size, shape, color, or feel.
As you can see, there are some ways to reduce your risk of skin cancer. And even for those diagnosed with it, there is hope, but early detection is crucial. If you notice a suspicious spot, or would just like to have your skin evaluated, contact our office today.
Source(s): aad.org, skincancer.org