Since its inception in 1979, The Skin Cancer Foundation has always recommended using a sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher as one important part of a complete sun protection regimen. Sunscreen alone is not enough, however. Read our full list of skin cancer prevention tips.
- Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
- Do not burn.
- Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside.Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
- See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
Signs of Melanoma (ABCDE’s)
- A – Asymmetry: One half does not match the other half
- B – Border: Irregular, ragged edges
- C – Color: More than 1 color; shades of black, brown, and tan may be present; areas of white, gray, pink, red, or blue may also be seen
- D – Diameter: Larger than a pea (¼ inch, or 6 millimeters), though some melanomas can be tiny
- E – Evolving: Changing size, shape, or color over time
A – Asymmetry. Draw an imaginary line down the middle of any mole and ask yourself if the two halves match. Ordinary moles are usually round and symmetrical, while melanomas are often asymmetrical.
B – Border. Ordinary moles are round or oval and have well-defined, smooth, even borders. Melanomas often have irregular, uneven, or notched borders. Also, pigment spreading from the border of the mole into surrounding skin is a warning sign of melanoma.
C – Color. Ordinary moles are usually one even color throughout and are most often brown, tan, or flesh colored. If your mole has several colors – including black, brown, red, white, and blue – or an irregular pattern of colors, it may be melanoma.
D – Diameter. Watch for a change in the size of your moles. Ordinary moles are generally less than six millimeters (a quarter of an inch) in diameter, or about the diameter of a pencil eraser. Melanomas may be as small as an eighth of an inch, but they are more often larger.
E – Evolving. While “E” for evolving is not part of the classic mnemonic, it is important to know that ordinary moles usually do not change over time. A mole that changes in size, shape, shades of color, surface or symptoms may be a symptom of melanoma. If it tingles, itches, burns, or feels strange, it may be evolving and should be checked.
Other warning signs include a sore that does not heal or any change in the surface of a mole, such as scaliness, oozing or bleeding. If you have melanoma, you may experience only one of the symptoms described above. You do not need to experience all of these symptoms to have melanoma. Any suspicious change in a mole should be evaluated by a doctor immediately.
Keep copies of the ABCDE’s of melanoma nearby when you perform routine body checks.
Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. UV radiation can also come from tanning booths or sunlamps. The most dangerous kind of skin cancer is called melanoma.
The good news? Skin cancer can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early. Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to prevent skin cancer or detect it early on.
Make a difference: Spread the word about strategies for preventing skin cancer and encourage communities, organizations, families, and individuals to get involved.
How Many People Get Skin Cancer?
- More than 2 million people in the United States are diagnosed with nonmelanoma (basal or squamous cell) skin cancer each year
- The number of new melanoma cases increases each year. In 2014, it is estimated that there will be almost 140,000 new cases of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer. By 2015, it is expected that about 1 in 50 Americans will develop melanoma in their lifetime
- About 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime
Be Skin Cancer AWARE
A: Avoid unprotected UV exposure and seek shade
W: Wear sun protective clothing, a hat and sunglasses
A: Apply sunscreen generously and often
R: Routinely check your skin and report changes
E: Educate yourself and others
Websites for info:
Great site for info: http://www.informationaboutcancer.com/skin-cancer/learning-about/library