May might be Melanoma Prevention Month, but cancer doesn’t discriminate according to a calendar and it’s imperative to be vigilant about protecting your skin all year round.
Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, but with the right protection and process, you can ensure that you and your loved ones stay safe and know what to look for.
The ABCDEs of Skin Cancer
When it comes to detecting skin cancer, just look to the alphabet. The ABCDE acronym can help you detect signs, symptoms, and changes in the skin to be aware of:
Asymmetry: The mole has a different shape or color on each side.
Border: The edge of the mole is uneven or appears jagged.
Color: The mole has multiple shades and colors. (Most commonly the mole will have varying shades of tan and brown, but also red, pink or even gray are possibilities, too.)
Diameter: The size of a mole grows to be larger than a pencil eraser.
Evolving: Any aspect of the mole changs (color, size, shape) or you begin to experience symptoms such as burning or itching.
If you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to contact a doctor immediately, and don’t panic! When caught early enough, most skin cancer can be treated effectively. Some forms of skin cancer can even be treated with a topical cream.
Either way, it’s good to set up yearly skin checks: During the skin check we will check you from head to toe for any abnormal, new, or irregular spots and/or moles. Since the ABCDEs aren’t the only signs and symptoms, it’s important to turn to a professional when it comes to diagnosing a cancerous legion.
Preventing Skin Cancer
Additionally, skin cancer prevention is just as important as diagnosis and treatment.
Did you know that the majority of all skin damage comes from harmful UV rays? When exposed to these rays for too long, your DNA gets damaged, and once altered it no longer has control over skin cell growth — leading to cancer. Luckily, with the right sun protection, you can prevent this from happening entirely.
There are two different types of SPF sunblock: chemical and physical.
Chemical sunscreen absorbs into the skin and absorbs UV rays. If you’re the active type, this is the better choice for you. Not only do chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin quicker, chemical sunscreens are also water-resistant making them the ideal choice for swimmers or those who sweat easily.
Physical sunscreen, on the other hand, sits on top of the skin and reflects the sun’s rays. This type of sunscreen is ideal for those with rosacea, or sensitive skin. While physical sunscreens can be harder to blend into the skin, they tend to be more moisturizing.
Whichever type you choose, just be sure it’s at least SPF 30, and be sure to regularly reapply throughout the day — especially if you’re outdoors.
During the month of May, we’re offering 50% all Boise Dermatology brand sunscreen, so you can safely enjoy the summer months knowing you’re protected and ready for anything. Give us a call to cash in on this awesome deal: (208) 888-0660.