Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with nearly 9,500 people receiving this diagnosis each day. Those with a family history of the disease or those with very light skin are especially susceptible to this disease. Fortunately, even high-risk patients can take steps to prevent skin cancer and improve their odds of early detection.
4 Skin Cancer Prevention & Detection Tips
1. Do Not Use Tanning Beds
Tanning beds can increase your risk of skin cancer by as much as 75%. This is not a risk worth taking for a tan. They also cause your skin to appear prematurely aged, with wrinkles, brown spots, and loose skin.
2. Wear Sunscreen
Getting a tan at the beach or in your backyard isn’t necessarily good for your skin. The sun’s UV rays can be as harmful as a tanning bed, so you need to protect yourself with a high-quality sunblock. Long sleeves are the best line of defense, but that’s not always feasible in the hot summer months. Use a sunscreen with UVA and UVB protection that has an SPF of 15 for short stays in the sun, or at least 30 for longer periods.
3. Get a Yearly Screening
Dermatologists offer annual skin checks in which they examine your body for signs of cancer or other abnormalities. They are trained to recognize early warning signs and can send a sample to a lab for testing if any unusual growths are found. Everyone should have yearly skin checks, but it should be a priority for those with fair skin or a family history of skin cancer.
4. Do a Monthly Skin Check
Between visits to your dermatologist, check your body for abnormal growths or changes in existing ones. Use a mirror to examine your body, including under your arms, the bottoms of your feet, and between your toes. If you notice anything unusual, schedule a visit with a dermatologist.
Your skin is your largest organ and your body’s protection. Treat it well and pay attention to your sun exposure to avoid skin cancer. Louis Luke Barich, M.D., in Hamilton, OH, offers high-quality, comprehensive skin care services for medical and cosmetic issues. Dr. Barich is an experienced, award-winning dermatologist committed to your health and well-being. Call (513) 863-3555 or contact the practice online to schedule your appointment.