May is Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month

May 23, 2011 at 1:58 pm Leave a comment

Melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer, is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of pigment-producing cells. Early detection is crucial because if it’s caught early, melanoma has a high cure rate.

The American Academy of Dermatology urges everyone to examine their skin regularly. This means looking over your entire body including your back, scalp, palms, soles and between your toes. If you notice a mole that is different from others, has jagged or irregular shaped edges, or that changes, itches or bleeds, make an appointment to see a dermatologist as soon as possible.

You can help reduce your risk of getting skin cancer by following these prevention tips:

  • Avoid deliberate tanning.  Lying in the sun may feel good, but the end result is premature aging as well as a 1 in 5 chance of developing skin cancer. Tanning beds and sunlamps are just as dangerous because they emit enough UV radiation to cause premature aging and skin cancer.
  • Wear sunscreen. Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 to all exposed skin. “Broad-spectrum” provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, whenever possible.
  • Seek shade when appropriate. Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.
  • Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand because they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn..

 Source: The American Academy of Dermatology

Entry filed under: Managing your health, To Your Health.

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