The Hidden Dangers of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is a potentially deadly disease that can affect everyoneat any age. One in five Americans will be diagnosed with a skin cancer related disease at least once in their lifetime. With proper information, skin cancer can be preventable and everyone regardless of the skin color should make skin cancer prevention a top priority.
Springtime is in full bloom and the summer is closely approaching. During the warmer months, many of us will be outside and participating in outdoor activities with our families and friends. What many people do not realize however that skin cancer risks are very high and many of us can develop skin cancer much easier than we think. That is why the physicians at Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center have provided you with some tips to reduce your risk of skin cancer.
Detect early warnings signs
Make sure you can notice the signs of skin cancer and have it check out as soon as possible.Always follow the ABCDE’s of skin cancer:
A-Asymmetry Normal moles or freckles are completely symmetrical. If you were to draw a line through a normal spot, you would have two symmetrical halves. In cases of skin cancer, spots will not look the same on both sides.
B-Border A mole or spot with blurry or jagged edges.
C-Color A mole that is more than one hue is suspicious and needs to be evaluated by a doctor. Normal spots are usually one color. This includes lightening or darkening of the mole.
D-Diameter If it is larger than a pencil eraser (about ¼ inch), it needs to be examined by a doctor. This includes areas that do not have any other abnormalities (color, border, asymmetry).
E-Elevation Elevation means that the mole is raised above the surface and has an uneven surface.
Find a shady spot
On a hot day many of us want to find a shady, cool spot where we can relax and enjoy the weather. Seeking the shade when the sun is the strongest, which is usually between 10am and 4pm, will prevent the sun's harmful rays from reaching you.
Hydrate at all times
During your time outside make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Being hydrated will promote a healthy skin tone and texture and also promotes a healthy lifestyle.
Tan but don’t burn
A person’s risk of melanoma doubles if they have had 5 or more severe sunburns. Prevent sunburns by using a lotion that is at least 30 SPF and reapplyingafter swimming or heavily perspiringwill be vital in sunburn prevention. The amount of sunscreen used should fill a shotglass (about 1 ounce). All exposed skin areas should be protected. Do not forget earlobes and back of neck! Wear a large brim hat to protect scalp and face. Generally, the higher the SPF number, the better the protection. However there is minimal difference between a SPF 45 and 100. Look for a sunscreen that protects against both UVB and UVA rays for better protection against the sun. Sunscreen should always be used-even on the most of cloudy days. Do not forget ears, top of feet and hands and lips! Your lips are vulnerable too! Use a lip balm with an SPF of at least 15. Meadowlands Hospital’s dermatologists agree that skin no matter how dark the complexion or if your skin never burns will receive sun damage if sunscreen is not used.
Say no to tanning beds
Tanning machines are known to cause cancer in humans and using a tanning bed once will increase your chances of skin cancer. Tanning booths cause a unhealthy amount of unnatural radiation. This type of radiation and heat is unnecessary and unhealthy.
Cover up when you can
A hat, shirts, and sunglasses can be the most effective form of sun protection.Many sunglasses (and clothing) are made with added protection against harmful UV rays.
Examine your skin
A self-,head to toeexaminationshould be performed at least once a week. If you experience a change in aexisting mole or growth on your skin please contact Meadowlands Hospital’s Outpatient Clinic at 201-392-3588 make an appointment to speak to one of our physicians.