How To Protect Yourself From Skin Cancer

Health & Medical Blog

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Skin cancer comes in three main forms:

  • Basal cell carcinoma.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma.
  • Melanoma.

More than 90% of all skin cancers are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Most skin cancers can be prevented by protecting yourself from UV radiation. Here are some ways to protect yourself from UV rays:

  • Wear Sunscreen - Whenever you go outdoors, always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15+ or higher. Even if you are not going to be in direct sunlight, you still need to wear sunscreen to protect your skin from reflected light. The higher the SPF rating of your sunscreen, the more protection you will have. Cover your entire body with sunscreen, even the parts that will be covered by clothing. 
  • Wear Clothing With a UPF Rating - All clothing will give you some protection from UV radiation. The best protection is with clothing that is rated with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of 15 to 50. If you know you will be in direct sunlight, you must wear UPF clothing and a hat. Special clothing stores and sporting goods stores carry UPF rated clothing. Find a local store or buy UPF clothing online. 
  • Wear Sunglasses - Wear Sunglasses whenever you are out in the sun. Choose sunglasses with UV protective lenses that are rated UV400 or above. Lenses with this rating can filter out 99.9% of harmful UVA and UVB light to protect your eyes. 
  • Self Examination - It is important to be vigilant when it comes to examining your body for possible skin cancer. Take a hand-held mirror and look at all parts of your body to find any marks, moles, warts, sores, and lesions that you may have. If you do this every month, you will become very familiar with all of your markings and will know when any of them change or grow. If you notice any change in your body markings, see your doctor right away. 
  • Body Map - Download an outline drawing of the human body. As you examine yourself each month, use this drawing to record your moles, warts, birthmarks, discolorations and other marks on your body. Note any changes in your body markings on your drawing. Take this drawing with you when you see your doctor so that you can get a medical opinion on these markings. 

Skin cancer is highly curable, if detected early. See a doctor once a year, like Henry E. Wiley, III, M.D., for to check for skin cancer. With thorough self-examinations, doctor visits, and protecting yourself from UV radiation, you can be assured that you will detect skin cancer early and get it treated immediately. 


2 December 2015