Skin Cancer Awareness Month
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and we wanted to take this opportunity to educate our clients on both skin cancer prevention and detection. This is a subject close to my own heart, as I have several family members who have skin cancer and I myself have had numerous precancerous moles removed and now undergo annual checks in hopes of preventing any future issues.
Most everyone knows how to prevent skin cancer, but just in case you need a little refresher course, below are the main list of items. Please keep in mind that if you have had any sort of skin cancer or possible cancerous moles removed, you will want to make certain to follow these basic rules even closer and be even more cautious with your sun exposure.
1. LIMIT YOUR SUN EXPOSURE – This is so much easier said than done with Spring already here and summer fast approaching! However, just remember to protect yourself and your family to the best of your ability while hanging out in the sun… AND ABSOLUTELY NO TANNING BEDS OR SUNBURNS!
2. WEAR YOUR SUNBLOCK!! – If you aren’t already wearing a daily sunblock or sunscreen, then you NEED to start today. Not only will this prevent skin cancer, but it will also help maintain your youthful glow by preventing wrinkles, sun spots, and sun damage. Remember too, that for proper protection make certain you are wearing a minimum of an SPF 30.
3. REAPPLY YOUR SUNBLOCK! – This is one that I myself am guilty of not doing enough. It’s so easy to loose track of time when you are hanging out with friends and family, having a great time, and out in the sun… but we all MUST start forcing ourselves to reapply every 1-2 hours while in direct sun exposure. This also goes for water resistant sunblocks as well. Direct exposure (especially around or in water) will cause your sunblock to stop working, so make certain you reapply!
4. SPORT A HAT – I happen to adore this idea since I am very much a “hat girl”, but that extra shade around your face, can definitely be your saving grace. This is a great idea for your little ones too. My daughter is a bit picky about her attire, so I took her to the store, gave her a budget, and advised her to pick out a hat to wear while out in the sun. She loves the new cute hat and MaMa loves that she’s a bit more protected.
5. DRESS ACCORDINGLY – There are several lines of SPF clothing or simply wear longer sleeves, hats, etc. to take your protection even a step further. Remember, even though you are covered, you STILL should apply sunblock.
As with any cancer, early detection is key. Early detection can be the difference between simpler treatment options versus surgical/radiation/and more evasive treatments and the difference between life and death. If skin cancer runs in your family then make certain that you are even more alert and aware of your skin and any changes. Below are the ABC’s… and D of skin cancer detection according to the American Melonoma Foundation.
A is for asymmetry. This is referencing to one half of a mole not matching the other half. To perform this self exam, simply divide the mole down the middle and compare the two sides.
B is for border. If your mole has an irregular border, then contact a dermatologist for professional examination. Most often the border will be notched, uneven, or even blurred.
C is for varied color. If your mole isn’t all of the same color, or has variations of darker brown or black, you will want to consult with a dermatologist.
D is for diameter. If a mole spans more than 6 mm across, it is more likely to be melanoma.