Skin Cancer Prevention
Did you know that skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis and it’s also the most preventable cancer?
Most skin cancer is caused by damage from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) while causing premature aging of the skin at the same time. A change in your skin is the most common sign of skin cancer. This could be a new growth, a sore that won’t heal, or a change in the appearance of a mole.
Not all skin cancers look the same.
A simple way to remember the signs of melanoma is to remember the A-B-C-D-Es of melanoma:
- “A” stands for asymmetrical. Does the mole or spot have an irregular shape with two parts that look very different?
- “B” stands for border. Is the border irregular or jagged?
- “C” is for color. Is the color uneven?
- “D” is for diameter. Is the mole or spot larger than the size of a pea?
- “E” is for evolving. Has the mole or spot changed during the past few weeks or months?
Talk to your doctor if you notice changes in your skin such as a new growth, a sore that doesn’t heal, a change in an old growth, any of the A-B-C-D-Es of melanoma, or if you are at an increased risk of skin cancer.
Protection from ultraviolet (UV) radiation is important all year round, not just during the summer, lounging by the pool or at the beach. UV rays from the sun can have damaging effects on you whether it’s a cloudy and hazy day or a bright and sunny day.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Daylight Saving Time (9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Standard Time) are the most hazardous for UV exposure outdoors in the continental United States. UV rays from sunlight are the greatest during the late spring and early summer in North America.
The CDC recommends easy options for protection from UV radiation—
- Stay in the shade, especially during midday hours.
- Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs.
- Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, head, ears, and neck.
- Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block both UVA and UVB rays.
- Use sunscreen and lip balm with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher, and both UVA and UVB (broad spectrum) protection.
- Avoid indoor tanning.
- Examine your skin once a month. Talk to your health care professional about any skin changes.