The good news is that skin cancer is highly curable and easily preventable if detected early. Unfortunately though, the rate of new skin cancer cases continues to rise each year. Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer can spread rapidly. More than 4,000 men die each year from melanoma only in USA. It’s important to follow preventative measures and to know what to look for in order to prevent skin cancer from developing.
- The most common sites for skin cancer are on the head, neck and torso. You’re at greater risk for skin cancer if you’re fair-skinned.
- Whenever possible, avoid direct sunlight between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
- Wear protective clothing such as broad-brimmed hats and long-sleeved shirts when working or relaxing outside.
- A half hour before going outside, apply a sunscreen lotion with SPF 15 or higher. Reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
- Avoid sun lamps and tanning booths.
- At least once a month do a complete self-examination of your skin. Be sure to have someone check the areas you can’t see such as your back and scalp.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
- Early detection is critical when it comes to skin cancer. There are a few features that skin cancers share that you should be on the lookout for.
- A cancerous growth is irregular in shape, unlike a mole which is round and symmetrical.
- If the border is jagged, not clearly defined, notched or indistinct, it’s suspicious.
- A mole or sore six millimeters or larger (about the size of a pencil eraser) is abnormal.
If you have a sore or mole that bears one or more of these features, contact your doctor.