Did you know May is Melanoma Awareness Month? For those unfamiliar with the term, melanoma is skin cancer. According to skincancer.org, melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It is usually caused by ultraviolet radiation from either the sun or tanning beds. These cancerous cells form when unrepaired DNA damage to skin cells triggers mutations that lead to skin cells to multiply rapidly and to form tumors (skincancer.org). It is very important that during these upcoming summer months that you protect your skin.
Like most cancers, the likely hood of treating melanoma is higher when detected early. According to skincancer.org, melanoma kills an estimated 10,130 people in the US annually. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent melanoma. Here are 5 ways to prevent melanoma according to skincancer.org.
- Avoid UV Tanning beds
Of course, most people enjoy getting tan during the summer months, but there are safer ways than using a tanning bed. If you do want to tan, make sure you aren’t exposed to the sun’s rays unprotected for a long period of time. If you do expect to be outside, make sure you apply sunscreen.
- Stay in the shade
It’s important when you are outside to seek shade out, especially if you don’t have sunscreen on. The sun can still peek through, but it won’t be as harmful to your skin. If you can’t find shade, wear protective clothing. Hats and sun protective clothing can prevent you from being exposed to the sun’s rays.
- Use sunscreen
Make sure you are using a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, especially if you have fair skin. It is also important to reapply sunscreen after 30 minutes (sooner if it is not waterproof). If you hate the feel of lotion, try to use the spray on sunscreen. Just make sure you spray your entire body.
- Avoid sunburn
Everyone gets burnt every now and again. We either lose track of time where we forget to reapply our sunscreen, or we think it’s not that sunny out where we won’t need it. If it’s a hot summer day, even if it’s cloudy, make sure you wear sunscreen. Your skin will thank you later.
- Regularly examine your skin
About once a month, examine your skin to make sure there are not any new moles or darkened moles on your body. If you see one and you think it might be a concern, please see your doctor right away.