Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, with one person dying every hour because of melanoma.
Experts suggest around half of melanoma cases are self-detected, but the other half is still concerning.
It’s still important to do self-checks and report any changes in your skin to your doctor.
Typical concerns are moles that are not symmetric, moles with border irregularities, vary in color, are larger than the size of a pencil eraser, or have changed in shape, size, or color over time.
If spotted early, it becomes much easier to treat. Dr. Aleksandra Brown, a dermatologist at River Ridge Dermatology said, “It’s a simple incision in the office with regular follow-ups, it’s really easy to do. If you wait too long, skin cancer can penetrate deep. Basal or squamous cell skin cancers, they don’t look like much, they look like a pimple that won’t heal. If left alone they can penetrate deep, going to the muscle or even the bone and there much harder to treat.”
Dr. Brown recommends anything that’s changing, bleeding, burning, or itching, as well as new moles that appear after the age of 30 are all things that need to be flagged by your doctor.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends staying in shaded areas during the day’s peak sunshine times, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Wearing protective clothing and generously applying sunscreen every day is also a good protective procedure.
Dr. Brown concludes with, “Everyone wants to know what number the sunscreen needs to be. Sunscreen number doesn’t matter, if you check the ingredients, flip to the back the bottle, look for the ingredients, it should have zinc oxide in it.”
The use of an FDA-registered, Zinc Oxide sunscreen product is highly recommended to protect yourself against harmful UV rays.