There are many things you can do to protect against skin cancer. Here’s how to stay safe.
How to avoid skin cancer
Did you know that one American dies from melanoma every hour? A tragic rate, experts say: This cancer is curable when caught early.
The good news is that there are many things you can do to protect against skin cancer. Here are some of the best ways to stay safe.
1. Use SPF daily
“Women put away their sunblock after Labor Day but should use SPF year-round,” Dr. Marmur says. Cancer-causing UV A and UV B rays are ever present.
2. Avoid tanning beds forever
They’re a known cancer causer. That’s why the FDA is seeking more strongly worded labels on machines. Meanwhile, the Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF ) has filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission about Jersey Shore, requesting a warning about tanning hazards on reruns. Sorry, Snooki.
3. Check yourself monthly
The SCF advises using a hand mirror and a full-length mirror to do a head-to-toe once a month in a well-lighted room. Ask a partner to check your posterior. Look for anything out of the ordinary—what derms call “the ugly duckling factor.” Even the busiest doctors should get you in ASAP if you say you’ve found a weird mole.
4. Size up your doctor today
Use this article as a checkup: If you’re not getting the exam you deserve, ask a doc you trust for a referral to a medical dermatologist she’d send family to.
5. Get screened yearly
Undergo a skin cancer screening at least once a year, or as often as recommended, depending on your risk. Some doctors take photos of atypical moles to track them—a smart practice.