Posted on: 26 June 2015
Cases of non-melanoma skin cancer have increased by more than 300 percent over the past 20 years or so. Made up of the most common types of skin cancer, such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, non-melanoma skin cancers are rarely life threatening. However, their more ominous counterpart, melanoma cancer, is also on the rise. It's estimated that this deadly form of cancer has increased by more than 250 percent, and it is especially prevalent among women and young people.
While not all cases of skin cancer can be prevented, there are several things you can do to lower your risk of getting skin cancer. The following are three ways you can keep you and your family safe from this deadly disease.
Block out the Sun
Reduce your skin's exposure to the sun by wearing protective clothing and sunscreen at all times. Most doctors recommend a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is higher than SPF 15. People with exceptionally fair skin or a family history of skin cancer should use sunscreen that's SPF 30 or greater. Keep in mind that sunscreen takes time to work. You should apply it 30 minutes to an hour before stepping out into the sun.
Even with all these precautions, you should take care to stay out of the sun. Seek shade whenever possible and think about installing a patio cover on your deck to block out the sun's harsh rays.
Get an Exam
In addition to checking your skin each month for abnormal moles or growths, you might also want to consider seeing a dermatologist for a full-body exam annually. When looking for abnormalities, keep the ABDEs of skin cancer in mind:
- A - Asymmetry
- B - Border that's uneven
- C - Color variations
- D - Diameter larger than 1/4 inch
- E - Evolving, changing or growing
Seek Out Genetic Counseling
If you have a strong history of skin cancer in your family, you might want to think about genetic counseling to see if you have a higher risk of developing skin cancer. While not all melanomas are contributed to genetics, some cases have been linked to gene mutations that have been passed down throughout generations.
There are several things you can do to prevent skin cancer. However, the most important thing you can do is to limit your time in the sun. Wear protective clothing and sunscreen at all times. Get a deck cover or patio cover so you can enjoy being outdoors for extended periods of time. And always be on the lookout for changes in your skin that may indicate the presence of a cancerous growth.
If you see signs of skin cancer, seek care at an Advanced Urgent Care facility or at your doctor's office.Share