Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, affecting more than two million people each year. And yet, there are many steps that can be taken to help prevent skin cancer.
If skin cancer is detected before the
cancer penetrates the skin, the survival rate is about 99 percent. Skin cancer progresses rapidly, so the earlier it is detected, the faster and better it can be treated.
During your annual exam, your physician or dermatologist should perform a skin cancer screening. If you notice abnormalities on your skin, or have a question about your risk for skin cancer, please contact your physician.
Skin Self Exams
Monthly skin self exams can help you stay active in preventing and detecting possible skin cancer. Examine your skin for changes in size, color, shape or appearance of skin. Strange skin growth or changes in moles may be indicators, as well as skin around injuries that doesn't seem to heal.
Common Warning Signs
- Color: skin color should be fairly uniform; it should not have a variety of colors.
- Size: moles should be no larger than a quarter inch.
- Edges: the edges of moles should not be jagged or irregular.
- Symmetry: both halves of a mole should look fairly similar.
- Changes: notice changes to color, shape, size or response to touch.
Avoiding Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is a mostly preventable disease. Avoid exposure to radiation, including direct sunlight during the hottest hours of the
day (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.).
Tips to help prevent skin cancer:
- Reduce the amount of time spent in the sun during peak radiation hours.
- Apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
- Wear a hat.
- Avoid see-through clothes.
If you have questions about skin cancer screenings please contact your primary care physician.