SKin Cancer, the Sun and You...
Skin cancer is largely preventable, including melanoma - the most deadly form of skin cancer. There are some things regarding skin cancer you cannot control, but by following these simple guidelines you will minimize your risk.
- Minimize the amount of sun that comes in contact with your skin.
- Wear a good broad-spectrum sunscreen that is at least a 30 SPF. Reapply sunscreen regularly. (See our staff for our recommended sunscreen.)
- Wear protective clothing and use the shade to your advantage. Hats and Caps DO NOT replace the need for sunscreen on your face.
- Avoid tanning beds and intentional tanning outdoors
- The sun is most intense from 10:00am to 4:00pm so any outdoor activity should be planned before or after this time, if possible.
- Take vitamin D by mouth to ensure adequate levels. This has been shown to be more effective and reliable than raising levels through sun exposure.
In addition, get to know the ABC's of skin spots. You should look for:
A - Asymmetry: if a line was drawn through the middle of your skin spot, each side should roughly be a mirror image of one another.
B - Border: the edge of the spot should be smooth and well defined.
C - Color: the spot should be a consistent color throughout
D - Diameter: the size of the spot should not be greater the 6mm (about 1/4")
E - Evolving: any change in size, shape, color, elevation, or a new symptom such as bleeding, crusting or itching indicates a potential problem
Nothing can reverse the damage the sun has already done, but you can minimize further damage. We can also recommend various methods of treating pre-cancers so they do not turn into skin cancers.
For more information, feel free to talk to our staff or visit the American Academy of Dermatology website at https://www.aad.org/skin-conditions/skin-health-tips.