Tips To Prevent Skin Cancer, National Healthy Skin Month

POSTED ON THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 06, 2014 AT 10:42 AM  by Dr. Jody Levine

Before gearing up for the hectic holiday season, step back and take some time for yourself and your skin. November is National Healthy Skin Month, a month dedicated to the awareness and prevention of skin diseases, including skin cancer. Skin cancer is a very common skin condition, affecting 1 in 5 Americans in their lifetime. Unfortunately, the rate of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, continues to rise. 75% of skin cancer deaths are caused by melanoma. On average, one American dies from melanoma every hour. Fortunately, melanoma and other skin cancers can be treated very effectively if diagnosed early enough. Our dermatologist, Dr. Jody Levine, at Plastic Surgery & Dermatology of NYC, has some tips to prevent skin cancer.

What are the risk factors for skin cancer?

  • UV exposure from the sun or tanning beds 
  • Increased sun exposure as a child
  • A family history of melanoma, especially for lighter skinned individuals with numerous moles, freckles, or history of severe sunburn
  • Survivors of a previous melanoma occurrence
  • Individuals with a history of non-melanoma skin cancers

How can I prevent skin cancer? 

The best way to prevent skin cancer is by avoiding sunrays during their peak hours, between 10AM and 2PM. If you must be in the sun, wear a long brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt, and sunglasses whenever possible. Additionally, apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least 30 SPF that provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays, constantly reapplying for effectiveness. Oftentimes individuals may be unaware that snow, sand, and water reflect rays, leading to increased exposure. It is crucial to wear sunscreen even on cloudy or snowy days.

How can I check myself for skin cancer?

The most common signs of skin cancer are moles that have an irregular or poorly defined border, are asymmetric, vary in color, and are larger than 6mm. Moles that are gradually changing in size, shape or color are also a concern. Dermatologists recommend performing a self-exam to check for suspicious moles. (For detailed instructions on performing this exam, please click here to see the American Academy of Dermatology’s website.) For an extensive, professional exam, Dr. Levine offers a full body check along with mole mapping, an exam of your moles, documenting size, color, and any irregularities in high-resolution photographs. This exam is helpful to diagnose skin cancer in its early stages, providing an in-depth evaluation of moles. If you’re experiencing moles that may not be dangerous to your health, but are cosmetically displeasing, Dr. Levine offers various forms of mole removal.

Dr. Levine stresses the importance of not only performing self-exams, but also having your moles evaluated by a dermatologist. The key to defeating melanoma is early detection and treatment. Our NYC dermatologist, Dr. Jody Levine, NY Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Elie Levine, and staff at Plastic Surgery and Dermatology of NYC welcome any questions you may have about skin cancer prevention or treatment. Contact our office at 212.988.1800, or request an appointment online today for your personal consultation! 

 

Additional Links:

Skin Cancer NYC

Laser Treatment NY

Mole Mapping New York City

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