Tips To Prevent Skin Cancer And What To Look For

Skin cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in the United States and according to the American Cancer Society, about 115,000 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer each year. That's why it's important to take skin cancer preventive measures and discuss your concerns with your dermatologist, Dr. Naga Meduri of Modern Dermatology Atlanta, in Woodstock, GA, also serving Acworth and Canton, GA.

Avoid Direct Sunlight

Exposure to direct sunlight is a major risk factor for skin cancer. If possible stay out of direct sunlight during its peak hours which is usually between 10 am and 3 pm.

Some UV rays can reflect off surfaces and get to you even if you're under shade. If you'll be spending lots of time outdoors, choose protective clothing. Hats, sunglasses, and dark clothing are great choices.

Certain medications such as antibiotics can increase your skin's sunlight sensitivity. If you're on a new medication, discuss its impact on your skin with your doctor and take appropriate measures.

Use Sunscreen

Broad-spectrum sunscreens that protect you from UVA and UVB rays should be part of your daily routine, especially if you plan on staying outdoors for longer than 20 minutes.

Applying sunscreen at the start of the day alone isn't enough. Reapply your sunscreen at two-hour intervals especially if you've been sweating or swimming.

Don't neglect your lips. Sunscreen lip balms are excellent for extending sun protection to your lips.

Be Aware of Your Risk

Some people have a higher risk of developing skin cancer than others. Assessing your risk helps you stay vigilant of the signs and seek help immediately.

Skin cancer risk factors include:

  • Family History. Family members with a history of skin cancer or other skin conditions such as dysplastic nevus syndrome could develop into cancer.
  • Excessive sun exposure. If you spent your younger years out in the sun with little or no protection, you might want to stay vigilant especially if you had several sunburns.
  • Skin that burns easily. If your skin burns easily to sun exposure with little or no tanning, you have a higher skin cancer risk.
  • Exposure to virus, radiation, and toxins. Specific HPV strains, radiation, and toxins like arsenic, might increase your skin cancer risk, especially if you have a compromised immune system.

What to Look for

Routine self-examination is important to observe skin changes and catch skin cancer early. Learn the ABCs of melanoma to identify suspicious skin lesions.

Here's what to look for:

  • A - Asymmetrical border
  • B - Border irregularities
  • C - Color is not uniform
  • D - Diameter above 6mm
  • E - Evolution

If you're in Woodstock, Acworth, or Canton, GA, discuss your skin cancer suspicions with your dermatologist, Dr. Meduri. She'll assess your skin to determine if the lesion is cancerous and follow up with treatment.

Schedule your appointment with Dr. Meduri of Modern Dermatology Atlanta, in Woodstock, GA, also serving Canton and Acworth, GA, if you're worried about skin cancer.

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