Is it time for a skin screening?
If you've never been screened by a dermatologist, or if you haven't been in the past year, you can call and schedule an appointment with one of our dermatologists.
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Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, but it’s also one of the most preventable and highly treatable with early detection. That’s why it’s important to make sure you protect yourself with an SPF 30 or higher and know what is in the sunscreen you are using.
What can you to do prevent skin cancer?
What should you look for during a self examination?
Skin cancer can be cured if found and treated early. If it is not discovered or treated until too late, it can spread throughout the body and may be fatal. Learn your ABCDEs, the changes in a mole or skin growth that are warning signs of melanoma:
- Asymmetry: One half doesn't match the other half.
- Border irregularity: The edges are ragged, notched, or blurred.
- Color: The pigmentation is not uniform. Shades of tan, brown, and black are present. Dashes of red, white, and blue add to the mottled appearance. Color may spread from the edge of a mole into the surrounding skin.
- Diameter: The size of the mole is greater than6 mm (0.2 in.), or about the size of a pencil eraser.
- Evolution: There is a change in the size, shape, symptoms (such as itching or tenderness), surface (especially bleeding), or color of a mole.
If you find one of these signs, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist. If you have damage from excessive sun exposure from earlier years or a family history of skin cancer, you should be checked yearly by a dermatologist and perform monthly self examinations.
The 411 on SPF
Sun protection factor (SPF) is a number on sunscreen labels that shows how long skin can be in the sun and maintain a low risk for sunburn. The higher the SPF number, the longer it protects a person from the sun's burning rays.
No sunscreen gives total protection, but "broad-spectrum" sunscreens that contain ingredients such as avobenzone, benzophenones, cinnamates, salicylates, sulisobenzone, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide usually protect from ultraviolet A and B (UVA and UVB) rays. The label of the sunscreen product will say what types of UV rays it protects the skin from.