Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S., afflicting more than two million Americans each year. The good news? It is also the easiest to cure, if diagnosed and treated early.
Since skin cancer is primarily a lifestyle disease, it can be prevented with awareness, education and a healthy dose of SPF.
1. If you skimp on sunscreen: ”Many people don’t think they need to wear sunscreen in mild temperatures or cloudy days. However, UV radiation can penetrate cloud cover, pollution and one meter of water. Reapply sunscreen throughout the day, especially after working out and swimming,” . “One application often does not provide enough protection to last the full day.”
2. If you’re skin type I or II: According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, certain types of skin are at greater risk of developing sun damage and skin cancer. There are six skin phototypes—skin types I and II face the highest risk, while types V and VI are at the lowest risk. Anyone can fall prey to skin cancer, however, so it’s important to protect yourself.
3. If your medicine cabinet is overflowing: “Many medications can cause photosensitivity, which makes the skin more sensitive to sunlight. A person’s risk for melanoma doubles if he or she has had more than five sunburns at any age,”. “In fact, one or more blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s risk of developing melanoma later in life.“
4. If you spot new spots: Beauty marks can be beautiful, but sometimes they can be deadly. Irregular moles can be a sign of skin cancer and any new birthmarks or brown spot should be checked out immediately. Do not ignore a suspicious spot simply because it does not hurt!
5. If you haven’t studied up on the new FDA sunscreen standards: All sunscreens are not created equal. The FDA is now holding all manufacturers accountable for labeling sunscreens in a transparent way that helps consumers really understand their safety and effectiveness.