We all have busy lifestyles, it is important in incorporate skin cancer prevention habits into everyday routines.
Great news: Most forms of skin cancer are preventable.
Many organizations have published guidelines on the best ways to protect yourself from skin cancer.It is important that we build good habits to prevent skin damage.
Of course, there’s no guarantee you won’t get skin cancer even if you follow these guidelines — but you can reduce your risk .
Here are some of the top recommendations:
- Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
- Do not burn.
- Avoid tanning and UV tanning beds.
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
- See your dermatology healthcare provider every year for a professional skin exam.
So, How Do you perform a monthly self skin examination?
Got 5 minutes?
That’s all it takes to check yourself for skin cancer, the most common type of cancer in the United States.
After a bath or shower, stand in front of a full length mirror in a well lit room. Use a hand held mirror to look at areas that are hard to see.
1. Begin with the face and scalp and work downward. Look at the front and back of your body in the mirror, then raise your arms and check your right and left sides.
2. With your elbows bent, look carefully at your forearms, underarms, fingernails and palms of your hands.
3. Check the backs of your legs, the top and bottom of your feet, toenails and between your toes.
4. Next, using a hand mirror look at the back of your neck and scalp. Carefully check your scalp by parting your hair.
5. Finally, use a hand mirror and check your back, groin and buttocks. By checking your skin regularly, you will know what is normal for you. It is helpful to record the dates of your skin exams, and to write notes about the way your skin looks. If you fi nd anything unusual, see your dermatology healthcare provider right away
“If you’re guilty of skimping on monthly self-exams, no worries—they’re easy! We can show you some guidelines to follow”
—Jennie Vandenhouten, APRN
Easy guidelines to remember:
Remember the ABCDE rule: Asymmetry (one half of the mole doesn’t match the other), Border irregularity, Color that is not uniform, Diameter greater than 6 mm — (about the size of a pencil eraser), and Evolving size, shape or color.
Most skin cancers are preventable, remember to include good skin health habits on a daily basis to decrease your risk. Although we may have busy lifestyle, an ounce of prevention is worth its weight in gold,