Every year, more than 96,400 people will be diagnosed with melanoma, the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Sadly, 7,200 of those people will die from the disease. In addition, an estimated three million people will be diagnosed with non-melanoma skin cancer, most commonly in the form of the less serious (but still serious!) basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma.
May is Melanoma Awareness Month and a great opportunity to focus on the health of your skin. With that in mind, the skincare experts at Skin NV show how you can detect skin cancer and offer tips on how you can prevent it.
Who’s most at risk for skin cancer?
While anyone can get skin cancer, certain people are at a higher risk due to certain factors. These include:
- Lighter, natural skin color or skin that burns, freckles, or reddens easily
- Family history of skin cancer
- Personal history of skin cancer
- Overexposure to the sun
- History of severe sunburns
- Years of indoor tanning
- Prevalent moles
- Weakened or suppressed immune system
- Recent radiation treatment
How can skin cancer be detected?
The most common sign of skin cancer is a change in your skin. This could be a new growth, a sore that doesn’t heal, or a change in a mole that you’ve had for a while. It is extremely important to note that not all skin cancers look the same. When looking at a questionable mole or mysterious spot, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does it have an irregular shape with two parts that look very different?
- Is the border jagged or irregular?
- Is the color uneven?
- Is the size larger than a pea?
- Has the appearance changed during the past few weeks or months?
If you have any concerns about skin abnormalities, it is critical to contact a health care professional immediately. The good news is that when skin cancer is caught early, it is very treatable.
How can skin cancer be prevented?
Simple changes to your daily routine can help prevent skin cancer! Leading experts including the CDC and Mayo Clinic recommend the following steps to prevent skin cancer:
- Avoid the sun during peak hours (10am to 4pm) even in the winter and on cloudy days.
- Wear sunscreen and lip balm all day every day. Make sure it is a minimum of SPF 30 and includes both UVA and UVB protection. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or more frequently if you are swimming or sweating.
- Since sunscreen doesn’t block all UV rays, wear protective clothing that covers your arms and legs and a wide-brimmed hat to shade your face, head, ears, and neck.
- Wear sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
- Avoid tanning beds.
- Examine your skin once a month. If you notice any abnormalities, immediately contact your health care professional.
Protection from UV radiation is a year-round commitment, not just during summer or when you’re at the beach. UV rays are everywhere and can affect your skin on cloudy and hazy days the same way it will on bright and sunny days. In addition, UV rays reflect off surfaces such as water, cement, sand, and snow.
Let us help!
The skincare experts at Skin NV are committed to helping you care for your skin. Our innovative rejuvenation and restoration treatments can help reverse damage from the sun, and our medical-grade sunscreens can prevent further damage, and of course, skin cancer. Please call our South Tampa med spa at (813) 839-4141 to learn more!