Skin Cancer Awareness Month
May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase public awareness of the dangers of skin cancer and the importance of skin cancer prevention and early detection. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with more than 5 million cases diagnosed each year. Fortunately, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable and treatable types of cancer if caught early. In this blog post, we'll explore some important facts about skin cancer and what you can do to protect yourself.
Types of Skin Cancer
There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common types and are usually less dangerous than melanoma. These cancers are typically found on sun-exposed areas of the body, such as the face, neck, and arms.
Melanoma is less common than basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma, but it is the most deadly. Melanoma can develop anywhere on the body, not just in areas exposed to the sun. It can spread quickly to other parts of the body if not detected and treated early.
One of the best ways to prevent skin cancer is to protect your skin from the sun. This means wearing protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts and hats, and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. You should also seek shade during the hottest part of the day, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. It's also recommended to avoid tanning beds, which can increase your risk of skin cancer.
Early detection is key to treating skin cancer successfully. You should perform regular self-exams to look for any changes in your skin, such as new moles, growths, or changes to existing moles. We recommend performing a self-exam once a month. If you notice anything new, unusual, or a mole that is changing, see a dermatologist right away. Dermatologists can perform a skin exam to look for signs of skin cancer. If the dermatologist suspects skin cancer, they may perform a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
Skin cancer is a serious disease, but it is also highly preventable and treatable if caught early. By protecting your skin from the sun, avoiding tanning beds, and performing regular self-exams, you can reduce your risk of skin cancer and detect it early if it does develop.