Reduce your exposure to sunlight.
Limiting your skin’s exposure to sunlight reduces the amount of ultraviolet radiation your skin receives. This also reduces your chances of developing skin cancer. Try these tips.
- Stay out of the sun during the brightest hours. Radiation from the sun is greatest when your shadow is shorter than you are, usually from about 10 AM to?4 PM.
- Use sunscreen. Waterproof sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of?15 or higher provides the best protection from the sun’s harmful radiation. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going in the sun. Be sure to use enough to cover the surface you are protecting. Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours. If you’ve been in the water or been sweating, you may need to reapply sooner.
- Protect your kids, too. Most skin damage occurs during childhood and adolescence. Prevent skin cancer in children by following the same steps you take for yourself.
Get a complete skin exam.
A doctor or nurse can check your skin for possible problems. Often this can be part of your regular health checkup. If you don’t have a doctor, check with your local hospital or health department. They may offer free skin cancer screening. Also, your doctor or nurse can show you how to check your skin yourself.
Know the symptoms of non-melanoma skin cancer.
Basal cell carcinoma may have one or more of these features.
- A small, raised area of skin that is shiny or pearly
- A small, flat spot that is scaly, irregularly shaped, and red
- A spot that bleeds briefly, heals up and appears to have disappeared, but then begins to bleed again in a few weeks
- A spot that grows slowly
- A rough bump that appears, then rapidly grows
- Flat, red patches on the skin that are irregularly shaped. The patches may or may not bleed.
Although these are symptoms of skin cancer, they may also be caused by other, less serious problems. If you have any of these symptoms, it is important see your doctor.