A skin cancer self-exam guide from dermatologists
Would you know skin cancer if you saw it? Current estimates are that one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetimes, but most people don’t recognize this disease and are unaware of the risk, dermatologists say.
The American Academy of Dermatology has launched a new online SPOT Skin Cancer initiative at www.SpotSkinCancer.org that includes a section on how to perform a skin self-exam, plus a body mole map that can be downloaded for tracking changes in your skin.
Some tips from the organization on how to prevent skin cancer:
— Seek shade if your shadow is shorter than you are and remember the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
— Wear protective clothing (long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses) when possible.
— Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or more generously to all exposed skin, even on cloudy days. Reapply every two hours and after swimming and sweating.
— Remember snow, water and sand reflect sun and can increase your chances of sunburn.
— Avoid tanning beds because the ultraviolet light from both the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling.