The skin is your largest organ, and it changes as you age. Although new growths and bumps can be harmless, they’re also the most common indicator of skin cancer. Luckily, early identification can help ensure proper treatment and care.
Can you guess the most common form of cancer in the United States? It affects the largest organ of the body, and you're exposed to risks every single day. The answer, skin cancer. The good news: there are easy, effective steps you can take to prevent it. Sunblock, let's talk about it. You wear it at the beach, you wear it in the yard to mow your lawn, but do you wear it as part of your daily routine? You should, regardless of how much direct sunlight you think you'll get. An SPF 15 every day, especially on your face and hands, helps keep dangerous UV rays from harming your skin even on a cloudy day. It only takes a minute to apply and is key in preventing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Going to the beach? Apply an SPF 30 or higher a half hour before heading out with your favorite beach book. Reapply every two hours, and when coming out of the water, it's the best tool to keep yourself safe. The sunblock, not the book. Don't forget the protective wear as well. Sunglasses, shirts, and hats should be worn whenever you're outside, whether it's that beach day, mowing the lawn, tending the garden, or spending time outside with friends and family. Tanning greatly increases your risk of skin cancer. And if you use a UV tanning bed before the age of 35, you're 59% more likely to develop melanoma. Most of us have freckles and moles, but have you checked them out recently? Changes in shape, size, or color over time may be of concern. Are they darker, bigger, uneven at the edges? Any yeses means it's time to check with your doctor, especially if you have light colored hair, light colored eyes, or a family history of any kind of cancer. Remember the simplest steps make a big difference. Apply sunblock and protective wear, check your moles frequently, and schedule a visit with your family doctor, or dermatologist if anything seems out of the ordinary. For more information, visit inspirahealthnetwork.org/skincancer.