Tips for Skin Cancer Prevention
With summer and warm weather nearing, sun safety and skin cancer prevention is a priority topic with our patients at The Layt Clinic. There are many easy ways to significantly lower your risk of skin cancer and protect your skin’s overall health. Below are tips to keep top-of-mind this summer, and throughout the year, to shield yourself and your loved ones in the sun:
Safeguarding your skin from exposure to ultraviolet rays, especially with sun protection and sunscreen, is an important part of protecting its delicate layers. For enhanced defense, it’s best to follow the five S’s from the Cancer Council’s SunSmart program:
- Slip on clothing that covers the skin as much as possible with darker, tightly woven material.
- Slop on very high broad-spectrum sunscreen 20 minutes prior to going outside and reapply every two hours, or more if sweating or swimming.
- Slap on a broad-brimmed, legionnaire, or bucket hat to guard the face, head, neck, and ears.
- Seek shade from the sun wherever possible, such as umbrellas and trees.
- Slide on polarised, wrap-around sunglasses (Australian Standard AS1067 with an Eye Protection Factor of 9 or more).
REGULAR EXAMS AND MONITORING
Scheduling annual skin checkups and performing self-exams each month are crucial ways to monitor skin health and detect early signs of skin cancer. These evaluations should look for abnormalities and growths (or moles) on your skin with a goal of preventing the three major types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma (least severe and most common), squamous cell carcinoma (more serious), and melanoma (most aggressive and life-threatening). If you need help examining, use the ABCDE’s of melanoma:
- Asymmetry – One half of the mole is unlike the other half.
- Border – The mole has an irregular, scalloped, or ill-defined border.
- Colour – The mole has varying colours over time or from one area to the next, such as shades of black, brown, tan, white, red, or blue.
- Diameter – The mole is greater than six millimeters – the size of a pencil eraser.
- Evolution – The mole has changed in shape, size, or colour.
THINGS TO AVOID
There are plenty of sun safety tips to do but it’s also important to know what not to do. Follow these tips for what should be avoided when it comes to the sun:
- Stay out of the sun’s strongest rays between the hours of 10:00am and 4:00pm.
- Don’t get burnt. Melanoma risks double after five sunburns throughout a lifetime.
- Shun sunbeds, as they emit intense and damaging levels of ultraviolet radiation.
- Don’t ignore abnormal-looking or discoloured skin spots, or growths that are bleeding, itching, painful, or unusual. Not all melanoma begins as you would expect, so it’s very important to attend routine checkups with your physician or dermatologist. When in doubt, have it checked out.
If you would like more information on skin cancer prevention, or to schedule an appointment at The Layt Clinic, please don’t hesitate to contact our office today.