Did you know that skin cancer is the most common and most preventable type of cancer? One of our five Americans will develop skin cancer before age 70. Though there are other risk factors, the main cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and tanning machines.
Anyone can get skin cancer, but knowing the risk factors, how to prevent it and what to look for could save your skin in the long-run.
Anyone can develop skin cancer, but the following factors may increase your risk:
- Lighter skin tones
- Family or personal history of skin cancer
- Excessive sun and exposure to UV rays or history of sunburns
- Precancerous skin lesions
- Exposure to radiation
- Weakened immune system
Skin cancer is the most preventable type of cancer.
- Wear sunscreen every day, even when it’s cloudy
- Wear protective clothing when in the sun, such as hats, long sleeves, etc.
- Avoid tanning beds
- Avoid the sun in the middle of the day when it is at its strongest
- Check your skin at least once a month
- Visit your dermatologist annually
If caught early, skin cancer is usually curable. It’s recommended that you check your skin for the following once a month:
- Growths that increase in size over time
- Moles, birthmarks or brown spots that increase in size, thickness, color or texture
- Spots or sores that continue to itch, hurt, crust, scab or bleed
- Open sores that don’t heal within three weeks
The most common skin cancers appear on sun-exposed areas of the body such as your face, neck, head and arms. If not removed or treated, these cancers can grow and spread to other areas of the body. Treatment options depend on the person and type of cancer determined by your doctor.
If you have any unusual spots or skin growths, talk to your dermatologist or primary care provider. If you need a doctor, visit UTHealthEastTexasDoctors.com or call 903-596-DOCS.