Skin Cancer: Protect Yourself

With our continuing effort to turn over a new leaf with the New Year, one of the most important things we must do is to get checked for skin cancer and re-evaluate our efforts to limit potential UV exposure. There are a few sobering facts from the Skin Cancer Foundation to keep in mind.

First, one in five Americans will get a skin cancer in their lifetime. Men are more likely to get skin cancer; its the #1 cancer in men over age 50. The majority of all skin cancers are caused by sun exposure, yet only one third of all people routinely use sun protection. Lastly, UV exposure also includes indoor tanning and nearly 30 million people tan indoors in America.

Categorically, most common skin cancers include basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Of these, the most serious is melanoma and nearly 8,000 Americans die of melanoma a year. Early detection is key, since the survival rate is 99% if found early. In order to tell if a mole is unusual, we apply the A,B,C,D rule for evaluation; where A is asymmetry, B is border, C is color and D is for diameter. Therefore, moles that become irregular in shape, color and/or size are suspect and subsequently can be biopsied to know for sure.

Prevention is key! This includes yearly checks at the dermatologist, protecting yourself from sun exposure by wearing hats, sitting under an umbrella at the beach, and wearing appropriate clothing to shield your skin. Also important is regular sunscreen, and choosing one that is a broad spectrum UVA and UVB screen. Historically, most sunscreens have contained effective UVB screens, (which relates to the spf) and a less complete UVA block; but with the FDA approval of Mexoryl in Anthelios, the most effective stable UVA block is possible.

SkinCareLab's favorite sunscreens include La Roche-Posay Anthelios SX with SPF 15, SkinCeuticals Physical UV Defense SPF 30, SkinCeuticals Waterproof Sport UV Defense SPF 45, MD Forte Daily Protector SPF 15 and Anthelios Fluid Extreme SPF 50+.

For more information about skin cancer, check out and make an appointment to see your dermatologist for a screening!












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