Of all the cancers that humans can get, skin cancer is the most common, which is why the American Academy of Dermatology recommends an annual full body skin exam to be performed on all adults. This is especially important for patients with a personal history of extensive sun exposure, and those with lighter colored skin. Prevention and early diagnosis are important factors in maintaining overall skin health.
People of all races and colors can get skin cancer. Those with light skin who sunburn easily have a higher risk. Using indoor tanning devices such as tanning beds and sunlamps also increases the risk of developing skin cancer.
Following these 8 steps may help prevent skin cancer:
- Generously apply a broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or more to all exposed skin when outdoors.
- Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses where possible.
- Seek shade. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 am and 4pm.
- Protect children from sun exposure by playing in the shade, wearing protective clothing, and applying sunscreen.
- Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun which can increase your chance of sunburn.
- Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements.
- Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling.
- Do a yearly self skin-exam. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, contact a dermatologist.