Skin Cancer Screening Tips for the Summer Months and All Year Round
The warm summer months are upon us, bringing those lazy days where we want to just lounge in the sun, soaking up those bright sunny rays. We love having that bronze look to our skin. Often that tanned look brings the feeling of being healthier and more attractive. However, that tanned look can bring some health risks, most notably skin cancer.
Skin’s Overlooked Functionality
The skin is actually the largest organ in the body, and has many important functions, making it imperative to keep it healthy. The skin acts as a barrier to germs, controls the temperature of the body, prevents the loss of too much water, and it also help the body create Vitamin D. It is important to keep our skin as healthy as possible because it acts as the body’s largest barrier against possible infections.
Unfortunately, statistics show that one in five people will have skin cancer within their lifetime. The most common are squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas, with melanoma being the deadliest. Statistic also show that when skin cancer is detected and treated early, it has a very high cure rate.
Skin cancer can be easily identified in early stages, and so monthly self-screening of moles is very important. When doing a self-exam of your moles, you should use the ABCDE’s of skin cancer recognition:
- Asymmetry — One half of the mole does not look like the other.
- Border — The border of the mole appears scalloped, irregular, or poorly defined
- Color — Any variation of color in the area of the mole
- Diameter — Moles that are larger than 5mm are suspect
- Evolving — When a normal mole starts changing. These changes can be size, color, bleeding, itchiness, or crustiness.
If you feel that a mole may be problematic, it is important to consult your physician as soon as possible.
Preventing Skin Cancer
Prevention of skin cancer is also important. Summer skin care tips include using sunscreen that contains both UVA and UVB protection, wearing clothing and hats to keep harmful UV rays away from the skin, and trying to avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. — the time of the day when UV rays are the strongest.
Dr. Thomas Wright of the Laser Lipo and Vein Center emphasizes that the health of your skin is very important. He says that proper sun protection is very important. He continues, “If you suspect skin cancer, please come in and get it checked as soon as possible. Early detection is the first step in curing skin cancer.”