One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime according to doctors at the University of Rochester Medical Center and clear blue sky means strong cancer-causing rays.
Sunshine is radiation and comes in a few different forms. Light is the most commonly known form with ultraviolet being another form, the one that harms the skin and can cause cancer. Learn more about damage the sun can do and how to protect it here.
Assistant Professor of Dermatology Mara Weinstein-Velez says protection is key. “Even at SPF 30, with a mineral sunscreen being re-applied every two hours, you should be protected.”
Rays come in two types. UVA is the one that causes early aging and wrinkles. UVB is the one that leads to a sunburn. UVA penetrates glass while UVB does not. Protect yourself by avoiding peak sun heating hours (10am-4pm) seeking shade, wearing sunscreen, and sun protecting clothing.
There are a lot of patients that had appointments cancelled during the pandemic. That has changed how people get help. “A lot of patients who had spots growing or spots of concern during the pandemic and who still do are able to safely, send a photo into our department through “MyChart”, which is an online protected HIPPA compliant patient portal.”
While the clinic is now at 80 percent capacity, her clients have no problem getting an answer on that spot that may be changing. The most common red flag of melanoma is an evolving spot on the body, like a mole that is changing. Protection remains the number one way to slow the chance for skin cancer. “The best sunscreen is the one that you’ll wear, so if you find an SPF 100 and reapply every two hours that’s great. As long as you’re putting on sunscreen.”
Experts say you should check your skin once a month from head to toe with the most common places for men to find melanoma are the back. For women it is the arms and legs. Melanoma can occur anywhere on and even sometimes in the body.
Remember to check your skin using the A-B-C-D-E’s below:
A – ASYMETRY (ONE SIDE DOESN’T LOOK LIKE THE OTHER)
B – BORDERS ARE IRREGULAR (PUZZLE PIECE)
C – COLOR CHANGE
D – DIAMETER (GREATER THAN 6MM RED FLAG)
E – EVOLVING (MOST COMMON RED FLAG)