Preventing Skin Cancer is a Year-Round Job

Skin cancer is more common than any other cancer in the United States, with about 5 million new cases diagnosed each year.

Even though you may have slathered on the sunscreen all summer long and stayed in the shade during the hottest parts of the day, you haven’t reached the all-clear zone just because it’s November. The experts at Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center in Fayetteville and Bentonville, Arkansas, know that keeping your skin safe from the sun’s damaging rays is a year-round job, no matter where you live.

 

Save the sunscreen

You may be bundled up seemingly from head to toe, but whatever skin is exposed to the air is exposed to the sun, too. Be sure you wear a sunscreen or other products with an SPF of at least 30, even when visiting colder climates in the winter.

If you love outdoor sports, reapply your sunscreen every couple of hours, just as you would if you were at the beach. Cloudy days and even snow reflect sunlight that can burn and damage your skin if you’re not protected.

 

Watch the windows

Staying indoors doesn’t necessarily save you from the sun, either. Window glass shields you from UVB rays, but not from UVA rays. If your desk is near a window at your office, wear sunscreen and pull down the shade during the sunniest part of the day.

Driving, too, puts you at risk. Windshields are coated to block UVA rays, but the side windows aren’t. The Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center dermatologists have noticed that many women and men who drive have more sun damage and skin cancer on the left side of their faces than on the right.  

 

Check your body from top to toe

Not all skin cancers are caused by the sun. Some are genetic and can appear anywhere on your body.  

Check every inch of your skin at least once a month for suspicious lesions. Look in “hidden” areas, too, such as between your toes and fingers, on your scalp, and behind your ears. If you’re dark-skinned, check low-melanin areas, such as the palms of your hands and soles of your feet.

Look for moles or other lesions that have the ABCDE characteristics of skin cancer:

A: Asymmetry (the two halves of the lesion don’t match)

B: Borders (borders are ragged, scalloped, or notched)

C: Color (different shades or colors in one lesion)

D: Diameter (bigger than a pencil eraser)

E: Evolving (any lesion that changes shape or grows bigger)

Be sure to get a full skin-cancer screening once a year from a board-certified dermatologist. If you notice any suspicious new lesions, or if a mole bleeds or oozes, call your dermatologist right away.

Early treatment keeps you healthy

Most skin cancers are easily cured if they’re caught in time. The doctors at Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center easily remove most benign and cancerous lesions using simple, in-office procedures, including laser therapy and surgery.

 

Our dermatologists also perform highly specialized Mohs micrographic surgery, which has a 99% cure rate for skin cancer.

To book a skin cancer screening or to have a suspicious lesion evaluated, contact us by phone or online form.

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