Experts offer tips to save your skin this summer

The start of the summer season is fast approaching, but on May 20 US cancer experts advise to slather on the sunscreen and keep a close eye on your skin for melanoma.

In a release, American cancer experts caution against sun exposure during midday hours, from 10 AM to 4 PM. Since UV radiation exposure is cumulative, protect your skin by wearing sunscreen with a high SPF every day, even on cloudy days, and avoid tanning, direct sun, and tanning salons.

Melanoma cases are on the rise, and this is especially true among white girls and women. The World Health Organization cites a rise in melanoma throughout the Western world, especially in countries where skin is typically fair or where tanning is the norm, such as in Northern Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Experts advise screening for melanoma for teens as young as 15 years old. Anyone with fair skin, a lot of moles, or who has spent a lot of time in the sun during their lifetime should check for melanoma, which can be quickly identified but when ignored is deadly.

To give yourself a skin exam, it is best to have a mirror and a flashlight, or a loved one to help you. If you see any of the irregularities listed below in moles or spots on your skin, consult a dermatologist. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) touts the following ABCDE's for self-screening for melanoma:

Asymmetry (one half unlike the other half)
Border (irregular, scalloped or poorly defined)
Color (varies from one area to another; shades of tan and brown, black; sometimes white, red or blue)
Diameter (the size of a pencil eraser or larger)
Evolving (changing in size, shape or color)

If you are uncomfortable doing the self-exam, have a health professional do it. Also a number of clinics conduct free screenings especially during the warmer months to promote skin cancer detection and prevention awareness.

To see a melanoma slideshow and learn about risks and treatment: http://www.medicinenet.com/melanoma/article.htm

Learn more about melanoma: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFeuNzSWYus

 

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