Did you know that approximately one in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lives? Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and more than one million Americans live with melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Because of this, the American Academy of Dermatology has designated the month of May as Skin Cancer Awareness Month.
Who is at risk of developing skin cancer?
Skin cancer can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender or race. While the incidence of skin cancer among non-hispanic white Americans is about thirty-times higher than non-Hispanic Black or Asian/Pacific Islander individuals, Research has shown that patients with darker skin tones are less likely than patients with lighter skin tones to survive melanoma, often because it is diagnosed in later stages and is more difficult to treat.
How can I decrease my risk of developing skin cancer?
- Avoid tanning beds
- According to the American Academy of Dermatology, just one indoor tanning session can increase the risk of developing skin cancer (melanoma by 20%, squamous cell carcinoma by 67%, and basal cell carcinoma by 29%).
- Prevent sunburn
- Also according to the American Academy of Dermatology, experiencing five or more blistering sunburns between ages 15 and 20 increases one’s melanoma risk by 80% and nonmelanoma skin cancer risk by 68%. Prevent sunburn by practicing safe sun.
- Practice Safe Sun
- Practice safe sun by seeking shade whenever possible if spending time outdoors, wearing protective clothing, and properly applying a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more.
- Perform regular skin self-exams
- When caught early, most types of skin cancer are highly treatable. In fact, about half of melanomas are self-detected. Regularly checking your skin for changes or signs of potential melanomas is the first step in catching skin cancer early. Learn how to properly perform a skin self-exam here.
If you notice any questionable freckles, moles, or other questionable spots/marks on your skin, schedule an appointment with your board-certified dermatologist.
Savannah River Dermatology is located at 575 Furys Ferry Rd in Augusta, Ga. For appointments and other questions our office can be reached at 706-691-7079.