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Are You Safe From Skin Cancer? What You Need to Know Now

Each year in the United States alone, nearly 5 million people are treated for skin cancer and nearly 90 percent of skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

Knowing that we can prevent a large amount of skin cancer is something we need to take very seriously. It’s easy to think, “oh that won’t happen to me” but of the seven most common cancers in the US, skin cancer is increasing most rapidly.

According to www.skincancer.org there are some crucial ways to prevent skin cancer. What I also stress to my clients consistently is that the ways you prevent skin cancer are also the ways to prevent premature aging, wrinkles, fine lines and discoloration. Here are a few of my tips to avoid skin cancer. I urge you to take this seriously and make it your mission to protect your skin. You will be so glad you did.

Be Sun Smart

I suggest staying out of the sun when the sun's rays are strongest and most dangerous. In most places in the world this is between about 10am and 4pm. If you are outdoors at these times wear sunscreen of SPF 30+ and reapply every 2-3 hours, a hat and protective apparel that covers your skin.  Don't forget your hands, neck and decollete, the often neglected areas where signs of aging are most common.

Never Burn

Even just one single sunburn can hugely increase your risk of cancer, and especially melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer. Research also shows that suffering five or more sunburns doubles your lifetime risk of getting skin cancer. Also remember - a tan is never safe, natural or from a tanning salon.

Make sure your sunscreen is broadband, meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are the main cause of sunburn and are strongest in the summer months, but UVA rays remain constant throughout the year. UVA rays are less intense than UVB, but they can penetrate through glass, making sun protection necessary indoors as well as out all year round.  UV rays also penetrate through clouds and fog too, so even if it's not sunny, make sure to apply your SPF!

And for you winter sports enthusiasts, the rays hit you twice, doubling your UV exposure!  Snow reflects up to 80 percent of the sun's UV light, and UV exposure increases 8 to 10 percent with every 1,000 feet above sea level.  So make sure to load up on SPF when you're hitting the slopes!

Know The Warning Signs: ABCDE’S

  • A: Asymmetry - is asymmetrical
  • B: Border - is irregular in outline or border, uneven edges
  • C: Color - changes color or texture appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black or multicolored
  • D: Diameter  - is bigger than 6mm, the size of a pencil eraser
  • E: Evolution - increases in size or thickness

The sooner you detect potential cancer on your body, the sooner it can be treated.  Look for spots or sores that may itch, hurt, scab, erode or bleed as warning signs. If you notice a mole, beauty mark or brown spot that does any of the following see your dermatologist or doctor immediately.

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