What Are You Doing to Prevent Skin Cancer?

O-B_shutterstock_16342645Anyone that has experienced skin cancer will tell you that prevention is much better than enduring treatment. A Missouri woman who is currently undergoing a battle with skin cancer now religiously applies sunscreen and encourages those she knows to do the same so they can avoid the trauma she has experienced. Here are some tips for skin cancer prevention:

Wear Sunscreen

Wearing sunscreen is an easy way to reduce your risk for skin cancer. Dr. Matarasso recommends wearing sunscreen with at least SPF 15. Make sure your sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. You should wear sunscreen even when you don’t think you’ll get burnt; UV rays are present even when it’s cloudy outside.

As you apply sunscreen make sure to protect commonly forgotten areas like the top of your ears. Any skin that is frequently exposed to the sun is at an increased risk for skin cancer.

Avoid the Sun

In addition to using sunscreen try to stay out of the sun during peak hours. In general it is recommended that you avoid sun exposure between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm when possible. In addition you should avoid artificial UV rays like those found in tanning booths as these can also increase your skin cancer risk.

Know the Risk Factors

Anyone can get skin cancer, but it is most common in those with risk factors. Some of these include:

  • Fair skin
  • A family history of skin cancer
  • Being over 40 years of age
  • Overexposure to the sun

Get Checked

Regularly checking for the signs of skin cancer can help you to notice problems early on when treatment is the easiest and recovery rates are the best. Dr. Matarasso recommends that you check yourself at least once a month looking for any changes to the skin or problem areas. Even if you are careful about your sun exposure it is important to catch skin cancer early. Look for any areas that refuse to heal, bleed easily, are consistently itchy or look different than other moles and spots. Note any changes in the appearance of moles or spots. New spots are also a cause for concern. If you see anything that concerns you contact our offices for a skin cancer detection appointment.

Early Treatment

If you do have skin cancer early detection and treatment are important. Many types of skin cancer (including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma) are most easily treated during the early stages. Since melanoma cancer can easily spread it is essential to diagnose the problem as soon as possible.

Skin cancer is a highly treatable condition with early detection and in many cases can be avoided with a little prevention.