The National Institutes of Health provides all of us a great resource regarding skin cancer awareness via their website the NIH National Cancer Institute. Recently, they shared an article titled “Anyone Can Get Skin Cancer”, which pointed out some precautions all of us can take in order to minimize our chances of getting skin cancer during this most busy outdoor season of the year!
Noted in the article are specific ways for each us to find skin cancer early:
- Talk with your doctor if you see any changes on your skin that do not go away within one month.
- Check the skin on all surfaces of your body, even in your mouth.
- Watch for a new mole or other new growth on your skin.
- Check for changes in the appearance of an old growth on the skin or scar (especially a burn scar).
- Watch for a patch of skin that is a different color and becomes darker or changes color.
- Watch for a sore that does not heal – it may bleed or form a crust.
- Check your nails for a dark band. Check with your doctor if you see changes, such as if the dark band begins to spread.
There are also four key suggestions to protecting yourself and your loved ones from skin cancer including:
1. Have your physician examine any skin area of concern.
2. Discuss your personal risks regarding skin cancer with your physician.
3. Avoid being in the sun during the peak hours of 10:00 am to 4:00 pm; if you do go outside, protect yourself with appropriate clothing items and sunglasses, and use sunscreen products with a label stating it is broad spectrum or is at least SPF 15 and can filter both UVA and UVB rays.
4. Do not utilize tanning beds; tanning booths or sunlamps.
The NIH National Cancer Institute has available to the public a free brochure titled “Anyone Can Get Skin Cancer”. While skin cancer is more common in lighter or fair toned people; this brochure raises awareness that people with darker skin can develop skin cancer. It highlights the risk factors, prevention methods, and clues for early detection.
Remember: When skin cancer is found early, it can be treated more easily. I want you to enjoy your outdoor summer activities; however, please be smart about your healthcare choices when it comes to protecting yourself and your loved ones while out in the sun and fun of the season!!