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Healthy Cells is a local health magazine with most of the articles written by local professionals. People love to read about healthcare from their local health professionals. Each month includes a wide variety of articles on various topics.
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Skin Cancer: Prevention and Detection

One in five Americans will get skin cancer in their lifetime. 

Melanoma, the most lethal form of skin cancer, has steadily increased over the past three decades to the rate of American life an hour, claiming one according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Detecting skin cancer, especially melanoma, when it is most treatable is key to survival. Fortunately, you can take steps to reduce your risk of getting skin cancer and improve your chances of catching it in its most curable stages.

Preventing skin cancer

While no type of cancer is 100-percent preventable, you can do a lot to minimize your risk of developing skin cancer. The best prevention is to protect yourself from the sun:


• Never use tanning beds. Multiple studies have found that indoor tanning increases your risk of melanoma by 75 percent, and the risk grows with every use.

• Avoid outdoor activities during the middle of the day if possible.

• Protect yourself from the sun’s rays reflected by sand, water, snow, ice, and pavement. The sun’s rays can go through light clothing, windshields, windows, and clouds.

• Wear a hat with a wide brim all around that shades your face, neck, and ears. Keep in mind that baseball caps and sun visors protect only parts of your skin.

• Wear sunglasses that absorb UV radiation to protect the skin around your eyes.

• Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 30 that filters both UVB and UVA radiation. Even though sunscreen is effective, it is still a good idea to try to avoid the sun during the middle of the day and wear clothing to protect your skin.

Detecting skin cancer
Detecting skin cancer when it is most curable is one of the most important ways to ensure a positive outcome for skin cancer treatment. Your detection efforts should include regular self-checks. The best time to do this exam is after a shower or bath in a room with plenty of light using a full-length mirror and a hand-held mirror. Begin by learning where your birthmarks, moles, and other marks are and their usual look and feel.

Check for anything new such as the following:
• A new mole (that looks different from your other moles)
• A new red or darker-color flaky patch that may be a little raised
• A new flesh-colored firm bump
• A change in the size, shape, color, or feel of a mole
• A sore that doesn’t heal
 

Don’t rely on smartphone technology for diagnosis. Some consumers are using smartphone applications for medical guidance on irregular moles. A recent study found that these apps are not reliable tools, with three out of four applications incorrectly classifying 30 percent or more of melanomas as unconcerning.

 

You should see a dermatologist for an annual skin cancer check. Dermatologists are trained to spot abnormalities that you can’t see or may have missed. While skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancer, it is also the most preventable. Taking steps to reduce your risk and catch skin problems before they become life threatening can help your skin stay healthy and cancer-free throughout your lifetime.
 

For more information or to schedule an appointment, you may contact the Dermatology and Mohs Surgery Institute at 309-451 DERM (3376) or dermatologistbloomington.com. Dr. Leone and Dr. Schupbach, both residents of Bloomington, are board-certified dermatologists, specializing in both medical and cosmetic dermatology, including the treatment of skin cancer, moles, acne, rashes, warts, and all skin disorders. Their practice, is located at 3024 E. Empire St., in the Advocate BroMenn outpatient center.
 

 



 

 

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