As the weather warms and we all look forward to spending more of our time outside this Summer, we want to take a moment to remind you about the importance of sun protection.
We know it’s nothing new coming from your dermatologist, however this is one area which we’ve very passionate about! May is actually Skin Cancer Awareness Month. In America, more than 9,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer every day, making it the most common form of cancer in the United States.At Savannah River Dermatology, we want to make sure your skin is beautiful, healthy, and ready to last you into your golden years.
So, today we’re going to talk about preventing skin cancer, and how to detect it early.
Preventing Skin Cancer
- Seek Shade: Whenever possible, opt for shade! Bring an umbrella to the beach, set up a shade tent at that sporting event, and when possible take a break indoors between 10am – 2pm when the sun’s rays are strongest.
- Wear Protective Clothing: Wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, breathable long sleeves and pants will be your best friend during long days in the sun.
- Apply Sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30+, reapplying every two hours. The average person needs roughly 4 ounces of sunscreen to cover their whole body! That’s two full shot glasses.
Detecting Skin Cancer Early
With early diagnosis and treatment most skin cancers are highly treatable. Knowing how to spot skin cancer is key. We recommend that everyone perform a skin self-exam at least once a year. A skin self-exam requires looking at all parts of your skin, including your nails and scalp for changes in any posts including age spots, moles, and freckles. For more information and step-by-step instructions on how to perform a skin self-exam at home, check out this blog.
One of the earliest signs of skin cancer is a form of precancerous skin growth called an actinic keratosis.
What is actinic keratosis?
An actinic keratosis often appears as a reddish spot that develops on skin you seldom protected from the sun over the years. They often appear on the face, ears, balding scalp, hands, neck, or lips. These areas tend to get the most sun. While actinic keratosis is not cancerous, it can develop into a squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer.
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology: 1J Am Acad Dermatol. 2018; 79:1148-50.
If you find a change on your skin that could be an actinic keratosis, please see your board-certified dermatologist. We’ll help find skin cancer early and customize a treatment plan for your best results.
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. Our office can be reached at 706-691-7079.