Change to your skin is the most common warning sign of skin cancer
Summer means spending having fun in the Camdenton sun. However, before soaking up the sun’s rays, remember to protect your skin with the season’s best accessory - sunscreen.
Practicing proper skin cancer prevention methods throughout the year is important, but it’s vital in the summer.
This is the season when ultraviolet (UV) rays are strongest in the United States.
Even on cloudy, hazy days these rays can cause harm to exposed skin, which can eventually lead to skin cancer.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts one million adults will be diagnosed this year. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. That means an estimated 7410 Camden County residents are at risk.
“Even a single sunburn in adolescence or childhood can lead to skin cancer 20 to 30 year later in life,” says Ronald Wheeland, M.D., professor of dermatology at the University of Missouri. “Melanoma does not respond to most skin cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or laser therapy, it is a frequent cause of death, especially in young people ages 19 to 25.”
But skin cancer is a preventable disease. In fact, when detected in the early stages, the average cure rate is 95 percent.
A key to early detection is a person’s ability to recognize the signs of skin cancer and perform regular self-examinations.
Change to your skin is the most common warning sign of skin cancer.
These changes can include a mole that has begun to grow, bleed or itch, or a sore that repeatedly heals and reopens.
To prevent skin cancer and still have fun in the sun, the Skin Cancer Foundation and Health Literacy Missouri recommend the following practices:
• Seek shade, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Avoid deliberate tanning – whether it’s in the sun or a tanning bed. Tanning beds can increase the risk of skin cancer by 75 percent. Without the proper care, tanning can also cause premature aging.
• Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.
• Apply sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours.
• Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
• Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
• Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
• See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
On the web
For information on how you and your family can protect yourselves from the sun, visit the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin
Additional information about skin cancer can be found at the American Academy of Dermatology at www.aad.org/media/index.html.