Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer and while it’s essential to check, detect and protect you and your loved ones year-round, we are significantly emphasizing the need this month. As you may be enjoying the outdoors more during this time, whether in your backyard, taking a walk around the neighborhood or exercising, it’s important to remember the risk that comes with too much sun exposure, even on cloudy days!
90% of nonmelanoma skin cancers and 85% of melanoma cases are associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and while 5 million cases are diagnosed in the United States each year, skin cancer can be prevented by taking the right steps. That’s what May is all about, raising awareness and ensuring you have the tools and resources to prevent skin cancer.
Who’s at higher risk?
Anyone can get skin cancer, but there are people with specific characteristics that are at higher risk.
People with lighter natural skin color are at greater risk; this includes those with skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily, or becomes painful in the sun. Do you have blue or green eyes or blond or red hair? You’re at a higher risk, too. Those with certain types or a large number of moles could also develop skin cancer easily.
If you are older or have a family history of skin cancer, make sure you’re careful in the sun.
- Use a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher and both UVA and UVB protection.
- Wear sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
- Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s UV rays in as little as 15 minutes.
- Even if it’s cool and cloudy, you still need protection. UV rays, not the temperature, do the damage.
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants to protect your skin.
- Remember to reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours and after sweating or swimming.
- The most common signs of skin cancer are changes on your skin, such as a new growth, a sore that doesn’t heal or a change in a mole.
Throughout the month of May, we’ll be making sure you know how to #CheckDetectProtect. We’ll give you checklists to make sure you’re prepared before you head outside, show you how to detect spots that could be cancerous along with the best protection methods! So make sure you follow us and our hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Do you have a mole or spot that you’re worried about? Along with in-office visits, we can also schedule a telehealth visit for you right now. Give us a call at (843) 872-3015 or request an appointment online.