No one wants to get the dreaded diagnosis of skin cancer after a skin cancer check. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to minimise your risk and help you protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun. Your best line of defence is to start with healthy habits and avoid exposure to the sun from a young age. However, it’s never too late to make your skin and your health a top priority. Read on for more tips that can help you to minimise your chances of developing skin cancer.
Wear Sunscreen Every Day
You may think you only need to wear sunscreen when you’re headed to the beach, but sunscreen should be worn daily, especially in the summer months. An SPF of at least 30 is ideal. Get into the habit of applying sunscreen every day before you go out, even when you’ll only be outside for a short period of time. Your sunscreen should provide you with broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays affect the deeper layers of your skin, while UVA rays affect the upper layer. While skin cancer is linked to UVA damage, both are dangerous for your skin.
Wear Protective Clothing
In addition to wearing sunscreen, you can give your skin more protection by wearing protective clothing. One of the most overlooked areas is the scalp. You can’t apply sunscreen to the delicate layer of skin that covers your head, and your hair doesn’t help. If you’re planning on spending your day in the sun, make sure you wear a hat. You should also wear a long sleeved top and pants whenever possible. For all areas that aren’t covered, apply sunscreen regularly. Don’t forget your ears, neck and any other body parts not covered by clothing.
Monitor Your Skin for Any Changes
You know your body better than anyone else. If you see something abnormal on your skin, pay attention and make an appointment for a skin cancer check. Warning signs that you may have skin cancer include a sore that won’t heal, a lesion without borders, or an unusual mole.
Get a Regular Skin Cancer Check from a Professional
In addition to examining your skin, you should see a medical professional at least once a year for a thorough skin cancer check. A professional will be able to provide you with a comprehensive evaluation that includes all the areas you can’t examine on your own, such as your scalp and back. If you’ve had skin cancer in the past or you’re at high risk of developing skin cancer, you may require more frequent checks.
While it’s uncommon, skin cancer can appear in areas that are never exposed to the sun. Fortunately, your medical professional will know what to look for, including growths that are scaly and rough. Moles that are a strange colour, asymmetrical or larger than the size of a pencil eraser could indicate melanoma, which is the most serious type of skin cancer. If a suspicious mole is found, photos will be taken to monitor it over time, and in some cases, a biopsy may be necessary to test for skin cancer.