Skin cancer can happen to anyone: no matter your age, sex, or race, the harmful disease doesn’t discriminate. Luckily there are ways to stay ahead of cancer before it turns deadly. May is melanoma awareness month — here are a few ways to stay aware and ahead of skin cancer to help prevent melanoma.
Limit Sun Exposure
An obvious but important way to prevent skin cancer is to limit sun exposure. There is no safe amount of time to spend in the sun unprotected. Although slightly different, both UVA and UVB rays are harmful: UVA rays are longer and cause the skin to tan, while UVB rays are shorter and cause sunburns. Both types cause skin damage and are directly linked to skin cancer.
The more exposed your skin is to the sun, the more at risk you are for developing melanoma. Still, we understand it’s impossible to stay in the shade 24/7. When you’re enjoying the beautiful weather, be sure to slather on SPF of no less than 30, and reapply as needed to ensure your skin is protected. This practice has the ability to stop melanoma before it begins.
Know Your ABCDEs
Life happens and the only constant is change. That’s why it’s so important to know your ABCDEs when it comes to moles and marks on your skin and to stay aware of anything shifting.
- Asymmetry — The mole changes shape or color on one side
- Border — The edge of the mole is uneven or rough-looking
- Color — The mole has multiple shades and colors such as browns, reds, and pinks.
- Diameter — The mole grows larger than a pencil eraser.
- Evolving — The mole changes in a noticeable way.
If you notice any of the above in regards to a mark or mole, it’s time to get checked out. Melanoma can develop anywhere, but certain areas like the back and legs are the most common site. Stay vigilant about tracking change to help catch skin cancer in its tracks and prevent melanoma.
Learn Your History
If someone in your nuclear family has a history of skin cancer, you might be at higher risk for developing it too. While experts haven’t distinguished an exact link, they believe it could be due to a gene mutation or similar lifestyles. Regardless of the reason, if you don’t already know it, now is a great time to talk with your family and get familiar with their history of cancer.
Get Regular Skin Checks
Even if you’re staying hyper-aware of your body and surroundings, skin cancer is the most common cancer, with melanoma the deadliest form. It’s important not to take risks when it comes to your skin’s health.
Be sure to come in annually for a skin check. While it’s great to keep an eye on yourself, having a professional take a look can help catch anything unusual and provide you with peace of mind.
Make your appointment today and go into the summer confident about your skin and preventing melanoma. Call us at (727) 545-3376 or schedule your appointment online today.