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Skin Cancer Awareness Month

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Did you know?

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Most doctors recommend doing a skin self-exam monthly and having an annual full body skin exam by a board-certified dermatologist annually. (Learn how to do a skin self-exam at bit.ly/2n6Dy8w.)

• There will be 91,270 new cases of invasive melanoma diagnosed in the United States in 2018.

• In 2018, 3,330 women will die from melanoma.

• One American dies from melanoma, invasive and noninvasive, every hour in the United States.

• Melanoma rates doubled in the United States from 1982 to 2011.

• Skin cancer in patients with skin of color is more common in areas not always exposed to the sun, like the palms, soles of the feet, groin, under finger- and toenails and inside the mouth.

Sources: American Academy of Dermatology, American Cancer Society

Watch out for these

Know your ABCDEs and pay attention to suspicious spots on your skin.

A is for asymmetry: The two halves of the spot don’t match each other.

B is for border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched or blurred.

C is for color: The color is not uniform. There are different shades of brown, black, patches of pink, red, white or blue.

D is for diameter: The spot is larger across than the size of a pencil eraser, although some are smaller.

E is for evolving: The spot changes in size, shape, color, becomes red, itchy, scaly, tender, painful, swollen, bleeds or oozes. Changes from flat to raised; a sore that won’t heal.

Source: American Cancer Society

Skin cancer prevention

• Limit exposure to UV rays even on cloudy or hazy days.

• Seek shade outside.

• Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

• Remember that sand, water and snow reflect and intensify sunlight and ultraviolet radiation.

• Check the daily UV index in your area at epa.gov/sunwise/uv-index-1.

• Protect skin with long-sleeved shirts, long pants and dark colors. Choose specially manufactured sun-protective clothing, which is more tightly woven than regular fabric and may have a special coating to absorb UV rays.

• Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 30 every time you go outside; reapply it every two hours, or after swimming or excessive sweating. Use at least a shot glass full (1 ounce) each time. Also, use makeup with sunscreen.

• Apply sunscreen to exposed skin including forehead, ears, neck, exposed scalp, tops of feet and between toes. Use lip balm with sunscreen.

• Wear a hat with a wide brim all around and a dark underside. Choose a tightly woven fabric rather than straw. Remember that baseball caps don’t protect the ears and neck.

• Wear UV-blocking sunglasses.

• Protect children from the sun with hats and clothing and keep infants younger than 6 months old out of the sun. Follow doctor’s recommendation for use of sunscreen on children.

Source: American Cancer Society

Your melanoma risk is higher if ...

• You have a personal history of skin cancer

• You have a family history of melanoma

• You have many moles

• You have freckles

• Your skin burns before tanning

• You have fair skin, blue or green eyes, blond, red or light brown hair

• You live at high altitude

• You spend lots of time outdoors

• You have certain autoimmune diseases, genetic conditions or a weak immune system

• You have had an organ transplant

• You take medication that increases sun sensitivity or suppresses your immune system

Source: American Cancer Society

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