What you can do to reduce your risk of skin cancer

Beautiful young latin woman applying suntan lotion at sea with copy space.Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States, affecting one in five Americans during their lifetime. Summertime is the perfect time to practice sun safety and reduce your risk of this common cancer. Here are some tips:

  • Skin cancer is most often caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, which damage skin cells. These rays come not only from the sun but form tanning beds and sunlamps, too. There is no such thing as a “good tan” as even a “base tan” is a sign of skin damage. It’s important to avoid tanning beds and sunlamps, as this artificial sun exposes you to intense levels of UV rays.
  • UV rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. during daylight saving time. It’s especially important to seek shade during this time whenever possible. Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs, and wear a wide-brim hat that shades your face, head, ears and neck from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
  • Choose sunglasses that wrap around your face and block both UVA and UVB rays. Also use a broad spectrum sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher, especially during the time of day when the UV rays are the strongest.
  • While summer is a great time to protect yourself from harmful UV rays, it’s important to know that you need protection year-round. UV rays can penetrate through clouds and during cool days.
  • While anyone can get skin cancer, some people are at greater risk than others, especially if you have a lighter skin color, skin that freckles or burns easily, blue or green eyes and blond or red hair. If you have a family history of skin cancer, a personal history, or are older in age, then you are at greater risk.
  • If you have certain types of moles and a large number of moles, you may be at greater risk. That’s why it’s important to take these steps and also get regular skin checks.

If you notice changes in your skin such as a sore that doesn’t heal or a new growth or other concerning spots, see your doctor. Call 425-455-2131 to schedule an appointment today.

Posted in: Skin Cancer

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