May is Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month
There are several different types of skin cancer, including melanoma, basal cell skin cancer, and squamous cell skin cancer. Melanoma skin cancer is a very common cancer in the United States, with more than 5 million people diagnosed each year.
Melanoma is an aggressive form of skin cancer. It is more likely to invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body than the more common forms of skin cancer. Melanoma is more common in men than women and among individuals of fair complexion. Unusual moles, exposure to natural sunlight or artificial sunlight (such as from tanning beds) over long periods of time, and health history can affect the risk of melanoma.
In addition to the skin, melanoma may also occur in mucous membranes – thin, moist layers of tissue that cover surfaces such as the lips – or in the eye, which is called ocular or uveal melanoma.
As you head outdoors for warmer weather and fresh air, we encourage you to #PracticeSafeSun. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S., and unprotected UV exposure is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer.
To protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays and reduce your risk:
Seek shade – Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Wear sun-protective clothing – Wear a lightweight and long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with UV protection, when possible. For more effective protection, select clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) number on the label.
Apply sunscreen – Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all skin not covered by clothing. Remember to reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.
In addition, since skin cancer is highly treatable when detected early. Perform regular skin self-exams using the ABCDEs of melanoma. If you notice any new spots on your skin, spots that are different from others, or spots that are changing, itching, or bleeding, contact us to speak with a dermatologist.