Now is the perfect time to brush up ways to protect your loved ones, since warmer weather means more time spent soaking up the sun.
Each year, 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed, making it the most common form of cancer in the United States. The good news is that skin cancer is easily cured if detected early, so doctors recommend that you perform a monthly self-examination. Here’s what to look for:
- A skin growth that increases in size and looks pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black or multicolored.
- Any brown spot (including moles, birthmarks, etc.) that:
- o changes color or texture
- o increases in size or thickness
- o is irregular in outline
- o is larger that ¼ inch
- o appears after age 21.
- A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, errode or bleed.
- An open sore that does not heal within three weeks.
Here are a few ways you can protect your skin when spending time outside:
- Generously apply a water-resistant sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher whenever outside, even on cloudy days. Reapply every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
- Wear breathable, protective clothing, such as a long-sleeve shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses when possible.
- Seek shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. as the sun’s rays are strongest during this time.
- Use extra caution—and extra sun screen—near water, snow and sand which can reflect and intensify the sunlight.
- Avoid tanning beds as the ultraviolet light from them can cause skin cancer and wrinkling.