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May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the time they are 70, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. That scary statistic shows just how common skin cancer really is. In fact, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. [1] The bright side is that skin cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer. The number one cause of skin cancer is ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, and UV light from tanning beds is just as harmful. [2]

It’s never too early, or too late, to help minimize your risk of developing skin cancer. Here are some helpful tips:

Say no to tanning beds. Just one indoor tanning session increases your chances of developing melanoma by 20 percent. Compared to those who have never tanned indoors, those who started indoor tanning before age 35 have an 87 percent higher risk of developing melanoma.[3]

Seek out shade. The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10am and 4pm, making this prime time to seek cover. You can also use the “shadow rule” to help determine the UV intensity. If your shadow is shorter than you are, the sun’s harmful UV radiation is stronger. On the contrary, if your shadow is longer, UV radiation is less intense.

Make SPF your BFF. Did you know that most adults need about 1 ounce of sunscreen to fully cover all exposed areas of their body? That’s enough to fill a shot glass. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen (it protects against both UVA and UVB rays) that is SPF30 or higher. Be sure to apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside, and reapply every 2 hours.

Get to know your skin. Do you know your ABCDEs? We use these characteristics to help act as warning signs in identifying melanomas of the skin.

  • Asymmetry
  • Border
  • Color
  • Diameter
  • Evolution (change)

If you notice any change in an existing mole or discover any new spot that doesn’t heal after several weeks, it’s time to make an appointment with your dermatologist.

See your dermatologist for an annual exam. Preventative screenings are key in keeping skin healthy. The ForCare team diagnoses and treats skin every day. When it comes to the health of your skin, trust the experts. Schedule your appointment today by clicking here, or give us a call at 813-960-2400.

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/statistics/index.htm

[2] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10985-sun-exposure–skin-cancer

[3] https://www.skincancer.org/publications/sun-and-skin-news/fall-2012-29-3/tanning-risk

 

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