If you’re like me, you are excited that summer is finally here. I love getting outside during this time of year. Whether it’s gardening or going to the lake, it’s great to be in a season of sunshine. Since May is Skin Cancer Awareness month, I wanted to take some time to remind everyone the importance of sunscreen.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it over and over again, “apply sunscreen every day.” You even have nice memories of your mom or dad slathering you until you look like a ghost from the thick white SPF 100 they used.
But did you know that 1 in 5 Americans get skin cancer? That’s right 1/5. It’s one of the most preventable cancers around, and most treatable if detected early.
So here’s some tips for you:
1. Do a yearly skin examination with your healthcare provider. (We will gladly do this for you anytime)
2. Check your skin yourself on a regular basis and note any changes in moles and freckles. Click here to see what to look for and for a free body map to document your skin changes.
3. When you notice any changes in size, texture, or color to moles get in right away for an appointment. Remember your ABCDEs of cancer. Again, early detection is key.
4. When you can find shade, or avoid the sun during the hottest portions of the day which is 10am-4pm.
5. Apply SPF 30(minimum) DAILY to face, arms and chest. Apply to entire body prior to sun exposure such as playing in pool and reapply at least every 2 hours.
6. Avoid tanning beds. 15-30 minutes in a tanning bed is equal to an entire day at the beach. There is a 75% increase in melanoma risk for anyone that tans in a tanning bed before age 35. (Skin cancer is not just for old people. It is happening in younger populations all the time. In fact melanoma has increased by 800% in women & 400% in men over the past 40 years in young adults ages 18-39. Click here to read more.)
Finally, know that if you have a concern come see us. We do skin exams all of the time. And if we see something suspicious we can easily take care of it for you. Unfortunately wait times with dermatologists are very long, and most will not see you unless you are already diagnosed with cancer. So don’t put off getting a skin exam because the specialist is unavailable. Call to make an appointment (417-332-3639) and we will gladly screen you.
As always, I hope you stay healthy and happy.
Carolyn Clark, NP-C