Did you know that anyone can develop melanoma and other skin cancers, no matter their skin tone? While fair skin is most susceptible to burning, everyone must protect their skin and eyes from the harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays, which cause wrinkles, age spots, and burning. In fact, too much exposure to these ultraviolet rays can lead to skin cancer. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to lower your risk for skin cancer.
Tips for lowering your risk for skin cancer
To help you enjoy the sun safely this summer, let’s take a look at some precautions you can take to help reduce your exposure:
- Sunscreen. Protect your skin with at least SPF 15 and reapply often.
- Clothing. Long sleeved shirts, long pants and a sun hats are essential for days when you plan to be outside enjoying the sun.
- Sunglasses. Protect your eyes from the harmful effects of the sun with lenses that filter ultraviolet rays.
- Shade. A good rule of thumb is to avoid the sun when your shadow is shorter than your height because this is the time of day when the intensity of UV rays are likely to be the strongest.
- Tanning beds. In short, avoid tanning booths and sun lamps. The link between ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure from these treatments and melanoma is indisputable.
- Skin exams. Regular skin exams can detect melanoma and skin cancer sooner, allowing for more successful treatment.
Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, as it accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States. Luckily, skin cancers are highly treatable — if they are found early enough.
Important warning signs of melanoma/skin cancer
- Changes in the size, shape or color of a mole or other skin lesion
- Growths that are small, flat or raised, pink or red, translucent, or have shiny areas that may bleed following injury or trauma
- Lumps with a rough surface
- Flat reddish patches that grow slowly
- Sores that do not heal
To schedule a skin exam, or to speak with a dedicated cancer doctor, call the START Center for Cancer Care at (210) 745-6841 today. We are here to provide you with dedicated, compassionate, individualized cancer care.