Every year more than 3 million Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer in the United States, making it the most common form of cancer. Most skin cancers are associated with harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. While people with light skin are more likely to suffer skin damage from the harsh rays of the sun increasing their risk of developing skin cancer, dark-skinned people can also be affected and should take adequate precautions to protect their skin.
You can significantly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer by:
- Always seeking the shade: Whether you are sitting, standing, walking, or lying down; always try to avoid direct sunlight, especially between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. when the rays of the sun can do the most harm.
- Wearing protective clothing: When out and about in the sun, wear long sleeved clothing, broad-brimmed hats, and protective sunglasses.
- Generously applying sunscreen: A water-resistant broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher will provide adequate protection. Apply enough sunscreen to cover all exposed areas of skin. Be sure to apply sunscreen even when going outside on cloudy days.
- Reapplying sunscreen: You must reapply sun-screen if you spend longer than 2 hours in the sun, after any physical activity that causes you to sweat, or after going for a swim.
- Avoiding tanning beds: According to research studies, people using tanning beds increase their risk of developing skin cancers such as squamous cell cancer, basal cell cancer, and melanoma. Even the occasional tanning bed use can significantly increase your risk.
- Examining your skin at least once a month: The examination is best done in a well-lit room in front of a full-length mirror. Learn the pattern of moles, freckles, and other blemishes on your skin so you can keep a track of any changes in these structures.
In addition to the above-mentioned precautions, a yearly checkup by a doctor will help identify any abnormal changes in your skin at an early stage maximizing the chances of a positive treatment outcome. North Central Surgical Center is the premier surgical hospital in Dallas, TX. Our mission is to care for every patient and their family as if they were our own.