May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and as the weather gets warmer it's important to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays.
Dr. Anas Al-Janadi, Vice President of Oncology at Spectrum Health, shares some ways to prevent skin cancer and protect your skin.
More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined. Everyone can get skin cancer but people with fair skin and moles are at higher risk, along with people who have a family history of skin cancer.
Always knowing the patterns of moles, blemishes, freckles and other marks on your skin to watch for changes is important. Having a regular skin exam is important for people who are at high risk of skin cancer.
Spectrum Health has been offering free skin cancer screenings for years but this year that is not an option. Anyone who has a question or concern about a new development to their skin should use telehealth services, such as Spectrum Health Now, to contact their primary care physician.
To avoid and prevent skin cancer, just do the following:
• Wear sunscreen – at least SPF 30 - when outside at any time, year-round. Use enough—a full ounce—to get the full result.
• When you are outside wear a hat and other skin-protecting clothing. Wide-brimmed hats are great for protecting your face and the back of your neck.
• Even when you have thoroughly lotioned up, avoid getting a sunburn by not staying out in the sun for extended lengths of time.
• Avoid all tanning beds and artificial tanning equipment. People who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent.
If you've been diagnosed with cancer and would like a second opinion, visit spectrumhealth.org/cancer or call 1-855-SHCANCER.