Summer is just around the corner, and everyone is excited to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether it’s swimming, hiking, biking, camping, or having a picnic, spending time under the sun is inevitable. However, it’s also important to keep in mind the dangers of skin cancer, which is the most common type of cancer in the United States. May is designated as Skin Cancer Prevention & Awareness Month, and it’s the perfect time to educate yourself and your loved ones about skin cancer prevention measures. In this blog, we’ll discuss the most common types of skin cancer, how to detect them, and the best ways to protect yourself from harm.
Skin cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the skin cells. The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are less harmful than melanoma because they tend to grow slowly and rarely spread to other parts of the body. They usually appear as a new spot or lump on the skin that doesn’t heal or go away. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer because it can spread quickly to other organs in the body and become life-threatening if not treated early. It’s often characterized by a change in an existing mole, the appearance of a new mole, or unusual patterns of color or texture on the skin.
Early detection is key to treating skin cancer. It’s recommended that you perform monthly self-examinations of your skin to check for any changes or abnormalities. You should also schedule an appointment with a dermatologist annually for a full-body skin examination. If you notice any unusual changes in your skin, such as new moles or changes in the size, shape, or color of existing moles, you should seek medical attention right away. The earlier skin cancer is detected, the easier it is to treat and remove.
Preventing skin cancer is possible by taking some simple precautions. The most effective way to protect yourself from skin cancer is to limit your exposure to the sun, especially during the peak hours of 10 am to 4 pm. When outdoors, wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher on all exposed skin, 20 minutes before going outside, and reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating. Avoid indoor tanning beds, as they emit harmful UV rays that can increase the risk of skin cancer.
Skin cancer prevention measures are not only for the summer season but should be practiced year-round. By taking the necessary precautions, you can reduce your risk of developing skin cancer and maintain healthy skin. If you’re concerned about any changes in your skin or have a higher risk of skin cancer due to family history or other factors, consult a dermatologist for personalized advice on prevention and early detection. Let’s make Skin Cancer Prevention & Awareness Month a reminder to protect ourselves and spread awareness to our family and friends. Stay safe and happy outdoor adventuring!