Ah it’s finally spring…the time of year loved by almost everyone!
The trees green, the flowers bloom, and animals emerge from their winter beds. As the temperature rises, most of us are eager to be kissed by the rays of the sun; turning our skin golden and freckling our noses.
Excited to end the chapter of yet another cold winter, no one wants to be the bringer of bad news, but the truth is…the sun isn’t always our friend.
Did you know that skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S. but is also the most preventable? In honor of Skin Cancer Awareness month, we’d like to share with you some helpful tips and tricks for staying safe this season.
The Risk Factors For Skin Cancer
As with any disease, certain characteristics and habits can affect your likelihood of getting them. Skin cancer is no different. Here’s a list of important risk factors you should keep in mind before basking in the sun:
► Skin Tone – Fair and freckled friends, you’re at a higher risk, so you’ll need to give your skin a little extra care to keep it safe!
► Smoking – If you’re a smoker, you know it’s causing damage to your lungs, but you should also know that it increases your risk of skin cancer too.
► Previous Skin Cancer Diagnosis – Unfortunately, this cancer is the lightning that often strikes twice. Examinations are crucial, especially if you have had skin cancer before.
► Ultraviolet Exposure – This is far and away the most common cause of skin cancer but there’s so much we can do to reduce the harm!
Even with greater risk, there are many measures you can take to help protect your skin. Follow along as we share helpful recommendations.
How To Protect Your Skin
Your skin is your body’s largest organ. Keep that in mind as you enjoy your favorite warm weather activities and give your skin the care and protection it deserves. To limit harmful damage, consider doing the following:
► Limit Exposure – Avoid being in the sun for an extended period of time, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is when the sun’s ultraviolet rays are the most harmful.
► Keep From Burning– Having five or more sunburns at any point in your life doubles your risk for melanoma.
► Use Sunscreen – Experts recommend using sunscreen each and every day, with an SPF of 30 or even higher.
► Self-Examinations – Examine your skin in its entirety once a month. “What am I looking for?” you may ask. Typically: asymmetrical or unusually large moles, any changes in moles, and spots on your skin that don’t heal within several weeks.
► Seek Professional Help – Enlist an expert for a skin exam on a yearly basis to make sure your skin is healthy and happy! And if for some reason your doctor doesn’t take your concerns seriously, visit a different one.
Be Your Own Advocate
Seeking guidance from your doctor, or even a dermatologist is always a good idea. But what if they don’t listen?
Picture this: You notice a new mole on your chin. You know what to look for, so you keep an eye on it. A month goes by, and it only seems to be getting bigger. You go to your primary care physician and they brush it off, mumbling about how the internet has made everyone think they’re a doctor.
But you remember that your sister had a melanoma removed a few years ago. This is the fork in the road, do you listen to your doctor? After all, they are one of the few figures we’re taught to listen to without question. Do you hope that they’re right and that you’re just overreacting?
NO, advocate for yourself. Ask your friends and family questions, do your research, trust your gut, and most importantly get a second opinion.
Cancer is often missed because of faulty screening, failure to correctly read test results, and failure to investigate family history among other things.
You may feel rude or uncomfortable seeking a second opinion, but this could be a matter of life or death. And you deserve better!
Staying Safe And Protecting Your Rights
Skin cancer can be very treatable, especially when caught early. Taking heed to the Cancer Society’s recommendations is the smartest thing you can do to protect your skin, and decrease your odds of developing skin cancer.
We also want to reiterate the importance of seeking professional advice. If you or your loved one sought treatment and a healthcare professional failed to treat you, reach out to us. No family should deal with the loss of a loved one because of medical malpractice or negligence.
You deserve to be listened to and taken seriously. Please reach out to us, if you feel you or a family member were misdiagnosed or mistreated. We’re eager to help, and get to the bottom of this.