by Mary Wright, RN, Health Educator at North End Waterfront Health
May is “National Skin Cancer Awareness Month.” Skin cancer is one of the easiest cancers to prevent.
Some tips to help prevent skin cancer include:
- Use sunscreen everyday; even in the winter. Be sure it is water resistant and has an SPF of 15 or higher. Use at least 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) to cover your body.
- Apply 30 minutes before going into the sun and reapply every 30 minutes if swimming.
- Stay out of the sun between 10 am and 3 pm. Remember the “shadow rule”: if you shadow is shorter than you, the sun’s UV radiation is the strongest. If longer than you, the radiation is less intense.
- Wear a hat, long sleeves and pants when in the sun.
- Avoid tanning booths.
Risk factors for skin cancer include:
- Having light skin.
- Having many moles.
- Having a family history of skin cancer.
The ABCD guidelines of what to look for in moles:
- A – asymmetry. The shape is different on the sides.
- B – border. The border has jagged edges.
- C – color. The color is different though out the mole.
- D – diameter. The mole is larger than the size of a pencil eraser.
If you have any of these signs, contact your health care provider. For more information contact the American Cancer Society at cancer.org.