Summertime is here, and you're probably hearing more about protecting your skin. After all, nearly 1 million Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year, according to the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov). But did you know by protecting your skin today, you're protecting it from skin cancer tomorrow? It's true.
With the mnemonic SUNSAFE, you'll be made in the shade this season.
Making sunscreen your best friend means you'll be less likely to get burned. Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) 15 or higher will help protect your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays that cause skin cancer. Be sure to apply it at least 15 minutes before going outside and reapply it every two hours.
It's important to keep your skin and eyes covered with lightweight, loose-fitting clothing, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses. If you can see through the material of your clothing when held up to the sun, then the sun can sneak through to your skin. Boost your protection by applying sunscreen under these garments.
While it may be fun to run in the noontime sun, the sun's rays are strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. during daylight savings time. By avoiding the sun at these times, you'll reduce your risk of sunburn.
If you have to be outside, stay under an umbrella or shady tree.
Think skin cancer is only for the older population? Not true. While skin cancer generally appears after age 50, children and younger adults are susceptible.
A number of risk factors make a person more likely to have skin cancer at some point in their lives. Having fair skin, a history of sunburns, excessive sun exposure, and moles play a role in the development of skin cancer. In addition, certain hereditary factors such as a family history of skin cancer can put a person at greater risk.
Ears, Cheeks, and Nose (And Shoulders, Too)
These are the areas the sun is most likely to burn, so make sure to apply extra sunscreen.
|Spotting Skin Cancer
The best way to prevent skin cancer is to practice sun protection. But what if you've had many years of unprotected time in the sun? How do you keep an eye on your skin so you'll know when to call a dermatologist? The National Cancer Institute recommends becoming familiar with your skin, moles, and freckles with regular skin self-exams. Use a full-length and hand-held mirror to examine your skin, from head to toe, for the following:
- small growths
- sores that bleed, crust over, heal, and then reopen
- change in existing moles' size, shape, texture or coloring
- development of a new (suspicious-looking) moles
To identify moles that may be cancerous, follow the ABCDs while performing your exams.
Asymmetry: look for moles that have one half not matching the size or shape of the other.
Border: identify moles that have irregular, uneven, or notched borders.
Color: look for moles that have uneven shades of tan, brown, and black.
Diameter: if a mole changes in size (larger than the head of a pencil eraser) a doctor should be consulted.
This article provided by MyHealthPublisher.com and can be found here.