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How to Prevent and Spot Skin Cancer

  • Category: Cancer
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Baton Rouge General
How to Prevent and Spot Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is without a doubt the most common cancer in the U.S. More cases are detected every year than all other cancers combined, and those numbers continue to rise. The good news is that most skin cancers can be found and treated early. Plus, there’s a lot you can do to protect yourself from ever developing skin cancer.

First Things First - Prevention
The best skin cancer prevention is protection. Too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays - from the sun or tanning beds - is the cause of most skin cancers.

  • Always, always wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher; even during cooler months and on cloudy days.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours or when you sweat or get out of the water.
  • Find shade from the sun during peak hours (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) when UV rays are strongest.
  • Cover up with a wide-brimmed hat and wear long-sleeved shirts and loose fitting clothing.
  • Wear sunglasses or some form of eye protection.
  • Never use a tanning bed. Ever.
Detection – The Earlier, the Better
Learn the warning signs of skin cancer and commit to doing monthly skin exams. If you notice any changes, make an appointment with your primary care physician. Use the ABCDE rule to help you remember what to look for:
  • Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark doesn't match the other half.
  • Border: Edges are irregular, ragged, notched or blurred.
  • Color: Coloring is not consistent all over and may include shades of brown or black, or have patches of pink, red, white or blue.
  • Diameter: The spot is larger than ¼ inch.
  • Evolving: There is change in size, shape, or color of the mole.

For questions regarding skin cancer detection and treatment, please email cancer@brgeneral.org

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