Sun Season Is Here: Tips to Help You Prevent Skin Cancer
BY HANNAH ROPP
The sun isn't aware of social distancing, which puts you at risk for developing skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed each year in the United States with roughly 5 million new cases reported each year. However, it’s also one of the most preventable types of cancer and one of the most treatable thanks to a host of new options, including clinical trials.
Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute offers leading-edge procedures and treatments for melanoma and is a member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance. This alliance gives patients access to the latest cancer treatments, leading-edge clinical trials, and the diagnosis and treatment expertise of MSK physicians. Patients, especially those with advanced metastatic melanoma, gain the benefit of being among the first to receive groundbreaking immunotherapy medications, which are proving to be lifesaving.
What you can do to protect yourself
Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to protect your skin and reduce your risk for melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.
Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher and be sure to reapply every two hours or after sweating or swimming.
Stay out of the sun and look for shade, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Wear sun-protecting clothing (hats, swimsuit cover-ups, etc.).
Make sure that your children are protected as well. Babies over 6 months of age can wear sunscreen.
Learn the A, B, C, D, E’s of melanoma
An early skin cancer diagnosis will result in a better outcome, which is why Suresh Nair, MD, Physician in Chief, Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute, suggests routine self-exams. “Regularly examine your body for signs of skin cancer,” Nair says. “If you notice any spot that changes, itches or bleeds, see your primary care provider or a dermatologist. The sooner skin cancer is diagnosed, the greater your treatment options.”
In order to do a self-exam of your skin, Nair suggests following the A, B, C, D, E criteria. Look for:
A – Asymmetrical moles
B – Borders that are irregular
C – Color variations
D – Diameter no more than a pencil point
E – Evolution or changes to your moles
To learn more about skin cancer go to LVHN.org/skincancer and watch a melanoma survivor’s story.
If you notice any of these signs, call your primary care provider's office. If you need a doctor, please visit LVHN.org/find-a-doctor or call us at 888-402-LVHN (5846).