Skin Cancer: The Importance of Sunscreen and Self-Exams

Preventing Skin Cancer

Spring is just around the corner and with the warmer temperatures, more and more people will be enjoying time outside. However, before spending time in the sun, it is necessary to understand the risk of skin cancer and the importance of sunscreen. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer combined. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns. That is why it is so important to wear sunscreen.

By wearing SPF 15 or higher when you are outside, you reduce the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by 40% and the risk of developing melanoma by 50%. Click here to view our previous post about choosing the best sunscreen.

Checking for Skin Cancer

Even if you are diligent about wearing sunscreen, it is still important to do frequent self skin exams. According to the Harvard Special Health Report Skin Care and Repair, the best time to check your skin is after a shower or bath. Use a full length mirror and a hand-held mirror to help you check your entire body. Here is what to look for:

  • a new mole (that looks different from your other moles)
  • a new red or darker-colored flaky patch that may be a little raised
  • a change in the size, shape, color, or feel of a mole
  • a sore that doesn’t heal
  • a new flesh-colored firm bump.

If you notice any of these changes, or something you think is unusual, contact your doctor. Early detection of skin cancer is key. Click here to view the full article!

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