Skin cancer

Use the three steps below to begin your journey to Best Health.

1. Know this

Excessive exposure to the sun and its ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause skin cancer. Ultraviolet light comes from the sun’s rays but is invisible to humans. Two of the three forms of ultraviolet light, UVA and UVB rays, reach the earth and can damage a person’s skin and eyes. These UV rays are the main causes of damage to the skin from the sun. Certain factors may mean that you have an increased risk of developing skin cancer:

  • A personal history of skin cancer.
  • A family member with skin cancer.
  • Abnormal moles (atypical moles), or moles larger than 6 mm (0.2 in.), about the size of a pencil eraser.
  • Fair skin that burns or freckles easily and does not tan.

Long-term effects of exposure include premature aging, wrinkling, skin damage and sometimes skin cancer.

2. Do this

Avoiding skin cancer can be as simple as protecting your skin and taking a good look at it regularly. Experts recommend that you use multiple methods to fully protect your skin.

  • Stay out of the sun during the peak hours of UV radiation, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wear protective clothing. Wide-brimmed hats that protect the face and neck. Tightly woven clothing made of thick material, such as unbleached cotton, polyester, wool, or silk.
  • Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, summer and winter, on both cloudy and clear days.

3. Use this

Use the following Best Health offering to get tips and support to help you prevent skin cancer.

  • Online health library – Learn more about skin cancer as well as other medical conditions, get tips and recommendations to improve your overall well-being, and access articles and videos on health and wellness topics.

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Source: Healthwise. Skin Cancer: Protecting Your Skin. Medical Reviewer: E Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology. © 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Last Revised 7/30/13.