Spot skin cancer early

iStock-1137373616_flierOne out of every five people will develop skin cancer at some point in their life. If found early, when it’s small and hasn’t spread, skin cancer can often be treated with success.

“People of all ages and backgrounds are at risk for skin cancer,” said dermatologist, Riddhi Shah, DO. “But in most cases, it can be prevented.”

When performing a skin cancer self-exam, it’s important to be able to spot signs of trouble. Learn how to recognize the ABCDEs of checking moles for melanoma.

  • Asymmetry: the sides of the mole or growth don’t match.
  • Border: the edges are ragged, notched, or blurred.
  • Color: the color within the mole or growth varies.
  • Diameter: the mole or growth is larger than 6 mm (size of a pencil eraser).
  • Evolving: the size, shape, or color of the mole or growth is changing.

Protecting your skin

Tip for when you are outdoors

  • Wear tightly woven clothing that covers your skin.
  • Put on a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face, ears, and scalp.
  • Try to stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • The sun’s rays can reflect off sand, water, and snow. Take extra care when you are near reflective surfaces.
  • Keep in mind that even when the weather is hazy or cloudy, your skin can be exposed to strong UV rays.

Tips for using sunscreen

  • Choose a sunscreen that has an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30. Also choose a sunscreen labeled "broad spectrum.” This will protect you from both UVA and UVB (ultraviolet A and B) rays.
  • Use a water-resistant sunscreen if you swim or sweat.
  • Use at least one ounce of sunscreen to cover exposed areas. This is enough to fill a shot glass.
  • Put the sunscreen on dry skin about 15 minutes before going outdoors so it has time to soak in.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours. If you’re active, do this more often.

Performing regular skin checks is the best way to find new marks or skin changes that may cause concern. For more information, or to schedule a consultation with a dermatology provider, visit stonegatedermatology.com or call 269.408.4265

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