Skin Cancer Prevention
Here in Atlanta the end of the summer beach season is upon us. Vacations are winding down. Back-to-school shopping is in full force. Time basking in the sun is at a premium, limited to weekends.
Unfortunately, the risk for skin cancer doesn’t take a hiatus. Each of us must remain diligent in our approach to skin cancer prevention.
So, how can we remain diligent? What do we need to understand and what do we need to do the minimize or eliminate our chances for developing the disease?
Shereen Timani, M.D., at Johns Creek Dermatology in Johns Creek, GA, stresses an understanding of the risk factors. A risk factor is anything affecting someone’s chance of getting the disease. Having one, or even many risk factors, does not guarantee you will get skin cancer. It’s nearly impossible to determine what risk factor may or may not have contributed to skin cancer. Still, it’s important to be mindful of them
Here are some of the risk factors, in no particular order, that can contribute to skin cancer:
- Ultraviolet, or UV, light: People with high levels of exposure to UV light are at greater risk for skin cancer.
- Ethnicity: The risk of skin cancer is much higher for whites than for dark-skinned African Americans or Hispanics. The risk of melanoma is more than 10 times higher for whites than for African Americans.
- Fair skin: Whites with fair skin, freckles, or red or blond hair have a higher risk of melanoma. Red-haired people have the highest risk.
- Gender: Men are 2 times as likely as women to have basal cell cancers and about 3 times as likely to have squamous cell cancers of the skin. This could be because they spend more time in the sun
- Older age: The risk of basal and squamous cell skin cancers increases with age. By age 50, men are more likely than women to develop melanoma. This number jumps by age 65, making men 2 times as likely as women of the same age to get melanoma. By age 80, men are 3 times more likely than women in that age group to develop melanoma.
Okay. Take note of these risk factors. And, regardless of whether you are or aren’t at risk for skin cancer take the following precautions.
- Seek the shade, especially between 10 AM and 4 PM.
- Do not burn.
- Avoid tanning and UV tanning beds.
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Use a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
- See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
The more informed you are the better your chances for avoiding the disease. Early detection leads to greater cure rates. After examining your skin if you notice anything suspicious, schedule a consultation at Johns Creek Dermatology with Shereen Timani, M.D. You can also contact the staff if you have any questions.
Consider turning to Johns Creek Dermatology for all your skin care needs. Located in Johns Creek, GA, Dr. Timani and her team serve South Forsyth, Gwinnett and North Fulton counties. Johns Creek Dermatology patients also arrive from the surrounding North Atlanta areas of Alpharetta, Suwanee, Roswell, Duluth, Dawsonville, and Cumming, GA.
While intended to be informative, this article cannot replace qualified medical advice. If you or someone you love are concerned about skin cancer, please contact Dr. Timani or a medical professional near you.
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