If you’re over the age of 40 you likely have strong memories of being a teenager and doing everything you could, including slathering yourself in baby oil, to achieve the perfect tan. Today, we are more aware of the damaging effects of the sun’s power and the impact it has on our bodies. Did you know having 5 or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma? Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and worldwide, in fact, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70, and more than 2 people die of skin cancer in the U.S. every hour. While those statistics are grim, the good news is you can prevent skin cancer by protecting yourself. Furthermore, if skin cancer is detected early enough, it’s highly treatable.
Types of skin cancer:
- Basal cell carcinoma: This is the most common type of skin cancer. It looks like a flesh-colored, pearl-like bump, or pinkish patch of skin.
- Squamous cell carcinoma: The second most common type of skin cancer. Often looks like a red firm bump, scaly patch, or a sore that heals and then reopens.
- Actinic keratoses: These dry, scaly patches or spots are precancerous growths.
- Melanoma: The deadliest form of skin cancer. Frequently develops in a mole or suddenly appears as a new dark spot on the skin.
ABCDE of skin cancer:
- A is for Asymmetry: One half of the spot is unlike the other half.
- B is for Border: The spot has an irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined border.
- C is for Color: The spot has varying colors from one area to the next, such as shades of tan, brown or black, or areas of white, red, or blue.
- D is for Diameter: While melanomas are usually greater than 6 millimeters, or about the size of a pencil eraser, when diagnosed, they can be smaller.
- E is for Evolving: The spot looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that you:
- Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
- Don’t get sunburned.
- Avoid tanning, and never use UV tanning beds.
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Use a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad- spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating. Find sunscreen by searching our Recommended Products.
- Keep newborns out of the sun. Use sunscreen on babies over the age of six months.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
- See a dermatologist at least once a year for a professional skin exam.
While there is no denying the summer months are meant for relaxation, fun and sun, protecting you and your family against the harmful rays will give you peace of mind. At Rochester Medical Group, we care about the health of your family! We are doing what we can to make healthcare a little easier for people with a busy schedule. Our physicians are quickly able to diagnose and treat common illnesses and minor injuries to help you get better, faster. We are here to meet the urgent medical care needs of Rochester Hills, Rochester, Troy, and the surrounding communities. Call us today at (248) 844-6000