Prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation (UV) on unprotected skin is a significant risk factor for skin cancer. Skin cancer is one of the most preventable forms, yet it is the most common in the U.S. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. With increasingly more activities outdoors this summer, protecting your skin is essential. Be sun smart this summer and all year long.
Skin Cancer Awareness Month
Skin Cancer Awareness Month is an annual campaign occurring in May. It aims to raise awareness of the dangers of unprotected sun exposure and educate the public about ways to help prevent skin cancer. The hope is to reduce instances of skin cancer and increase opportunities for early detection through education.
All month long, people can get involved by:
- Sharing their own skin cancer story on all social media platforms using the hashtag #ThisIsSkinCancer.
- Learn and #ShareTheFacts about sun safety, skin cancer prevention, and early detection with friends and family.
- Attend special awareness classes through Sun Smart U and help teach our youth about making smart sun choices an everyday habit.
Importance of Self-Checks
Keep you and your family safe all year with the following sun safety tips:
- Avoid being outside during peak hours (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.).
- Cover the arms and legs with protective clothing.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses that block UVA/UVB rays.
- Use broad-spectrum sunscreen when outdoors with an SPF of 15 or higher.
Skin cancer is highly curable when caught early enough. That’s why everyone should do a head-to-toe self-skin check every month. The purpose is to look for any new, changing, or unusual growths on the body. Using self-exam guidelines and the ABCDE’s of Melanoma, you can identify if you have any warning signs for melanoma include:
- Asymmetry– Most melanomas are asymmetrical.
- Border– Melanoma borders tend to be uneven and may have scalloped or notched edges.
- Color– Multiple colors are a warning sign.
- Diameter or Dark– It’s a warning sign if a lesion is the size of a pencil eraser (about 6 mm, or ¼ inch in diameter) or larger.
- Evolving– Any change in size, shape, color, or elevation of a spot on your skin. Or, any new symptom in it, such as bleeding, itching, or crusting, may be a warning sign of melanoma.
Products, Annual Checks, and Treating Skin Cancer
You should bring any concerns you find or are unsure of to your dermatologist immediately. Annual skin exams with a dermatologist are recommended for adults over 40 in addition to those with previous skin cancer history.
Alamo Heights Dermatology’s board-certified dermatologists are highly experienced in skin cancer prevention and treatments. Furthermore, our clinic products store features best-selling sunscreens from top brands, including ColorscienceÒ and EltaMDÒ. Stop in today to purchase yours, or to schedule your consultation, call (210) 255-8447, or request one online.