Three ways you can prevent skin cancer
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, and it can affect anyone – even those with darker skin. Dermatologist Jeremiah Miller, MD, shared what you need to know to reduce your risk.
What are risk factors for skin cancer?
There are two types of risk factors, some you are born with (inherited) and others you acquire by the actions you take.
Inherited risk factors include having the following:
- Red hair
- Fair skin
- Family history of melanoma, the worst form of skin cancer
- 50+ moles
Acquired risk factors include:
- Tanning bed use
- Chronic sun exposure
- Sun burns
When should you see a dermatologist?
It is important for you to be familiar with your skin and perform regular skin checks so you notice when a new spot appears. Some things to be on the lookout for include:
- A spot that is new
- A spot that is different from other spots
- Bleeding spots or moles
“Regardless of your own skin checks, if you have any risk factors you will want to see a dermatologist annually once you are in your late 30s for skin cancer prevention. If you have anything that seems concerning on your skin, see a dermatologist as soon as possible,” said Dr. Miller.
How can you prevent skin cancer?
Dr. Miller shared these tips for preventing skin cancer.
- Wear sunscreen. Apply a thick layer of sunscreen and remember to reapply.
- Wear sun protective clothing. Cover up as much of your skin as possible when out in the sun with protective clothing.
- Wear a hat. While baseball hats are great for protecting the scalp, a wide brim hat is best for full coverage protection from the sun.
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