May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

skin cancer doctor

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, with more than 5 million cases diagnosed annually. Thankfully, it’s also among the most preventable. By educating on the risks of unprotected sun exposure and promoting regular skin checks, we have the power to save lives.

Protect Your Skin and Know the Signs

As the sun begins to shine brighter and we spend more time outdoors, May, designated as Skin Cancer Awareness Month, serves as a crucial reminder of the importance of skin health. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States, but it is also one of the most preventable. This month, let’s focus on how to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays and recognize the early signs of skin cancer.

Sun Protection: Your First Line of Defense

Sun exposure is the most significant risk factor for skin cancer. Protecting your skin is essential, and here are some effective ways to do so:

  • Use Sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day, even on cloudy days, and reapply every two hours when outdoors.
  • Seek Shade: The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you can, seek shade during these hours.
  • Wear Protective Clothing: Long-sleeved shirts, pants, sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat can provide extra protection.
  • Early Detection: Know the ABCDEs of Melanoma.

Early detection of skin cancer can save lives, especially in the case of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Familiarize yourself with the ABCDEs of melanoma:

  • Asymmetry: One half of the mole doesn’t match the other.
  • Border: Edges are irregular, ragged, or blurred.
  • Color: The color is not uniform and may include shades of brown or black, sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue.
  • Diameter: The spot is larger than 6 mm across (about ¼ inch – the size of a pencil eraser), although melanomas can sometimes be smaller.
  • Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape, or color.
  • Take Action: Skin Cancer Screenings and Awareness Events.

This month, many communities offer free skin cancer screenings. Take advantage of these opportunities and encourage your friends and family to get screened too. Participate in local awareness events to spread the word about skin cancer prevention and early detection.

Skin cancer is preventable and, when detected early, treatable. This May let’s commit to protecting our skin and staying vigilant about any changes. For more information, visit the American Cancer Society or consult with a dermatologist. Remember, the steps you take today can save your life or the life of someone you love.

 

Skin Cancer.org

American Association of Dermatology – Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Melanoma and Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Our offices will be closed on Monday, May 27, 2024 in observance of Memorial Day