Skin Cancer

Skin Cancer

With summer here, thoughts of the sun, warm air, and vacationing at the beach come to mind. But, it is now also the time to start thinking about how you will protect yourself from the deadly rays of the sun!

Skin cancer is the most common form of human cancer. It is estimated that over one million new cases occur annually. The SUN’S ultraviolet rays are the most common cause of skin cancer. It is estimated according to Dr. Rockoff of Tufts University (2009) that half of all Americans who live to 65 will develop skin cancer at least once!

There are three different types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. The most common warning sign of all three is a change in the appearance of the skin or mole, such as a new growth or a sore that will not heal. Most skin cancers do not appear until after age 50, therefore we must begin to protect ourselves now.

To protect yourself from the harmful rays of the sun, follow these guidelines:

  • Use SPF 30 Sunblock
  • Avoid sun exposure from 10 AM to 2 PM
  • Cover areas of skin with a light cloth if the sun cannot be avoided
  • Have an annual surveillance for changes in the skin by a physician

You must also be aware of your skin changes. Physicians have developed an easy way to help you detect changes in the skin or a mole. Use the Acronym: “ABCDE”:

Skin Changes

  • Asymmetry
  • Border Irregularity– edges are ragged
  • Color– not uniform
  • Diameter– a mole greater than 1/4 inch
  • Evolution– change in size, shape, symptom, or color

Contact your physician if you have any of the signs or changes listed above.

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