Skin cancer affects one in five Americans
Skin cancer affects one in five Americans. The most common are basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas, and malignant melanomas. So Skin Cancer Management is an important service we offer at Olympic Dermatology & Laser Clinic. Our preference, of course, is to help patients avoid skin cancer in the first place with preventive care and advice. But ultimately it’s up to each person to apply that prescription. A recent study reveals it’s more important than ever for men. In a new survey, just 51 percent of US men reported using sunscreen in the past 12 months, and an alarming 70 percent did not know the warning signs of skin cancer. The truth is, with a few minor lifestyle adjustments, men (and women) can easily reduce their skin cancer risk to a minimum. Here’s how:
- Seek the shade between 10 AM and 4 PM, when the sun is most intense. Schedule outdoor activities such as yard work, running errands, and walking the dog in early morning or late afternoon.
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses. Most skin cancers develop on skin that receives a lot of sun exposure. Long pants and long-sleeved shirts cover more skin. And while a baseball cap is better than nothing, it’s far better to wear a broad-brimmed hat (like an outback or bucket hat), which will shade the often exposed neck and tops of the shoulders as well as the face. Close-fitting, UV-blocking sunglasses help protect the eyes and surrounding areas.
- Wear a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30+. Apply one ounce 30 minutes before heading outside, and reapply every two hours, or immediately after swimming or sweating heavily.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month. If you spot suspicious lesions, you increase your chances of detecting skin cancers at an early stage, when they are easiest to cure. Unfortunately, only 31 percent of men surveyed know how to perform skin self-exams.
- See your physician every year for a professional skin exam. Just 21 percent of the survey’s male respondents said they were likely to see a medical professional for a skin exam this year.