Skin cancer is the most common type in the United States, but it is also one of the easiest to reduce your risk. In honor of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, let's focus on ways to keep your skin healthy and avoid melanoma.
Dr. Trevan Fischer, a board-certified expert in complex general surgical oncology, employs the most up-to-date surgical techniques for people with cancer at his private practice in Santa Monica, California.
Whether the issue is melanoma or another skin cancer, breast cancer, or soft tissue sarcoma, he combines his extensive experience at his practice with knowledge from his work on clinical trials at the Saint John's Cancer Institute for the best possible outcomes.
Melanoma is not the most frequently occurring type of skin cancer, but it is the most serious. It grows in the cells that create the pigment that provides color to the skin.
It is most often found on areas of the body exposed to the sun, like the face, back, arms, and legs, but it can also appear in other locations, such as the soles of the feet and palms of the hands. It can even develop in the eyes.
Sometimes it begins as a mole, but in other cases, it appears as a new growth on the skin.
Ways to reduce your risk
Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce your risk of melanoma.
Limit sun exposure
The sun and its harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation can damage the skin and increase the risk of melanoma. Avoiding outdoor activities when the sun is strongest between 10 am and 4 pm can aid in protecting the skin. Similarly, staying in the shade or wearing sun-protective clothing (including a hat and sunglasses) can help.
Having more than five sunburns or one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles the chances of developing melanoma.
Sunscreen should be worn daily, no matter if it is sunny or cloudy. It should be broad-spectrum with an SPF of 30 or more and applied liberally. Re-application may be necessary after several hours or more often when swimming or sweating.
Avoid indoor tanning
As dangerous as the sun can be, indoor tanning can emit 10-15 times the amount of UV radiation. Women who have partaken in indoor tanning are six times as likely to develop melanoma in their 20s as those who haven't. The more often women use tanning beds and similar devices, the more likely they are to be diagnosed with melanoma at any age.
There is no doubt melanoma is a serious type of cancer. Therefore, practicing safe skin habits is essential in decreasing your risk. For people who develop it, early detection is key to catching it before it spreads.
No matter if you have an odd-looking mole or a new suspicious blemish or have already been told you have skin cancer, Dr. Fischer can aid in treatment. Click to book an appointment or call the office today at 310-807-2688.