Tips To Prevent Skin Cancer

In the US, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. Roughly 1 in 5 Americans will develop the condition, and approximately 9,500 people are diagnosed daily. Nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC), basal cell carcinoma (BCC), and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) are some of the most common forms. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with NMSC than men. Meanwhile, the rate of skin cancer diagnoses in people younger than 30 is declining. Regardless of skin tone, all people are at risk of skin cancer, but taking a preventative approach can reduce the chances of cancer.


Take a trip to the derm

Experts recommend that people visit a dermatologist annually for a skin exam. For most individuals, the visit will be quick and less than 10 minutes. Between annual exams, dermatologists will encourage a person to routinely check the skin for unusual growths like moles. If an abnormality is identified, the individual should make an appointment to be seen sooner.

Reducing skin cancer risks

People know the sun’s rays can be harmful, but many still don’t practice smart sun health. Learning how to properly protect the skin when spending time outdoors, especially in direct sunlight, is a key way to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. Stay in the shade, and wear clothing that covers the arms and legs or a hat to protect the face. Consider investing in sunglasses that protect the eyes and skin area from ultraviolet (UV) rays. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Additionally, avoid spending extended time outside when the sun is hottest in the middle of the day. Finally, avoid using tanning beds, which can encourage skin damage from direct exposure to UV rays.

What are pre-cancerous growths?

When talking about skin cancer, pre-cancerous growths are usually actinic keratosis. The condition is typically caused by excessive exposure to the sun. The skin may look scaly, flaky, or have a change in color from the rest of the surrounding skin. For most people, actinic keratosis usually develops later in life. However, most dermatologists will recommend removing the growths as a precaution, even if the diagnosis is benign.

Removing growths

Typically, the easiest and most efficient way to control precancerous growths and prevent the development of cancer is through removal. Usually, cryotherapy or cold therapy will be used to freeze and remove the damaged cells. The procedure is typically performed in-office, and minimal to no preparation from the individual is required. Although some aftercare is required, most people can resume normal activities quickly.

Put a stop to skin cancer

Not every person can eliminate the risk of skin cancer, but many forms of the condition are preventable. Practicing smart sun health and scheduling routine skin exams with a dermatologist are smart ways to avoid a cancer diagnosis.