Summer is finally in full swing, which means more days outside basking in that warm sunshine. While it’s great to get out of the house and enjoy the sun while it lasts, it’s also important to keep an eye on your skin—and take precautions to protect it from harm.
The skinny on skin cancer
The CDC reports that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in America, with early detection and prevention being the key to protecting yourself from the disease.
Self-examinations are a great way to ensure you’re protected from skin cancer. When investigating a suspicious mole or patch of skin, remember ABCDE:
Asymmetry: Can you draw a line through the mole, and it looks very similar on both sides? If not, it’s asymmetrical, and needs to be checked out. Look for discolorations or variations in size on either side as well.
Border: Check out the borders of the suspicious spot. If the edges are rough or blurred, it’s time to see a doctor.
Color: Examine the overall color of the mole or mark. Is it one color all the way around, or does it vary from place to place? If the color varies in different spots, that’s another red flag.
Diameter: How big is the mole? Typically, if it’s smaller than a quarter inch across, you’re in good shape. Any larger than that is cause for concern.
Evolving: Has the patch of skin or mole changed at all since you first noticed it? Is it changing size, shape, or color over time? A mole that’s evolving could be a sign of something more and needs to be examined by a professional.
The key to prevention
It’s best to wear SPF 30 or higher sunscreen when outside, even on cloudy days, and to reapply often. You should also seek out shade whenever possible.
Additionally, the Skin Cancer Foundation warns that tanning is especially dangerous, and cautions that indoor tanning is more likely to give you skin cancer than smoking is to give you lung cancer.
While it’s fun to soak up that summer sun and try for that perfect tan, it’s also important to remember to protect your skin while out and about. If you have any concerns about your skin, we at Hancock Health are ready to help.