The weather is beautiful and people are headed to the beach, the pool or the park. What sometimes is forgotten is the risk of too much sun exposure and the most common type of cancer: skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer. This list is from www.cancer.org
Skin cancer risk factors
Risk factors for skin cancer include:
- Too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation (from sunlight or tanning beds and lamps)
- Pale skin (easily sunburned, doesn’t tan much or at all, natural red or blond hair)
- Exposure to large amounts of coal tar, paraffin, arsenic compounds, or certain types of oil
- You or members of your family have had skin cancers
- Multiple or unusual moles
- Severe sunburns in the past
- Weakened immune system
- Older age (although melanomas are also found in younger people)
Signs and symptoms of skin cancer
Skin cancer can be found early, and you and your health care providers play key roles in finding skin cancer. Learn how to examine your skin for changes. If you have any of these symptoms, see a provider:
- Any change on your skin, especially in the size or color of a mole, growth, or spot, or a new growth (even if it has no color)
- Scaliness, roughness, oozing, bleeding, or a change in the way an area of skin looks
- A sore that doesn’t heal
- The spread of pigment (color) beyond its border, such as dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole or mark
A change in sensation, such as itchiness, tenderness, or pain
Can skin cancer be prevented?
The best ways to help lower your risk of skin cancer is to stay out of intense sunlight and practice sun safety. You can still exercise and enjoy the outdoors while practicing sun safety at the same time. Here are some ways to be sun safe:
- Seek shade, especially in the middle of the day (between 10 am and 4 pm) when the sun’s rays are strongest. Teach children the shadow rule: If your shadow is shorter than you, the sun’s rays are at their strongest.
- Follow the Slip! Slop! Slap!® and Wrap! rules:
- on a shirt: Use protective clothing to cover as much skin as possible when you’re out in the sun. Choose comfortable clothes made of tightly woven fabrics that you can’t see through when held up to a light.
- on sunscreen: Use broad-spectrum sunscreen and lip balm with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen (about a palm full) to all unprotected skin. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, toweling dry, or sweating.
- on a hat: Cover your head with a wide-brimmed hat, shading your face, ears, and neck. If you choose a baseball cap, remember to protect your ears and neck with sunscreen.
- on sunglasses: Wear wrap-around sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB absorption to protect your eyes and the nearby skin.
- doesn’t protect you from all UV rays. Do not use sunscreen as a way to stay out in the sun longer.
- these practices to protect your skin even on cloudy or overcast days. UV rays can travel through clouds.
- other sources of UV light. Tanning beds and sun lamps damage your skin and can cause cancer.