Many people mistakenly believe that skin cancer only develops due to consistent exposure to the sun. Unfortunately, some people develop cancerous cells in areas of the body that are usually not exposed to the sun. To help lower your risk of developing skin cancer, it is important that you know and practice prevention methods.
How Is Skin Cancer Prevented?
Even though skin cancer is not always directly related to sun exposure, it is a contributing factor in many cases. It is because of this, you need to develop safety measures to use when you are exposed to the sun.
For instance, it is important that you use sunscreen year-round. Sunscreen of at least 30 SPF can help to block UV radiation that can increase your risk of having skin cancer. The sunscreen needs to be applied generously to all of your exposed skin. You even need to include your ears and lips. To protect your eyes, you should wear sunglasses while outside during the daylight hours. Look for glasses that have UV protection.
Prevention also includes trying to limit the amount of time that you spend in the sun. If you have an outdoor activity planned, try to schedule it for a period of time in which the sun's rays are the strongest. Be sure to wear protective clothing, such as long sleeves, to limit your sun exposure.
A major part of your plan to reduce your chances of developing skin cancer is to focus on cancer screenings.
What Cancer Screenings Are Necessary?
Cancer screening does not necessarily start in your doctor's office. It should start at home. It is imperative that you self-exam your skin on a monthly basis. Check for abnormalities, such as new moles and bumps. You also need to ensure that your existing moles have not changed in color or shape. Any changes should be immediately reported to your dermatologist.
You should also be screened in your dermatologist's office (like Vail Dermatology). Your doctor will help determine how often you should be screened. If you have a family history of skin cancer, have had it in the past, or have risk factors for the disease, your doctor might require you to be screened more frequently. Risk factors can include having more than 50 moles.
The earlier that skin cancer is detected, the better your chances of survival. By taking precautions, such as using sunscreen and being screened, you can help protect yourself.