Summer is here which means May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month.
Dr. Drew Oliveira, Regence’s Senior Executive Medical Director, gives us the rundown of how to protect ourselves from the sun & the signs of skin cancer.
Dr. Oliveira said it’s important to protect ourselves from the sun because the sun has UV rays that can damage the DNA in our skin, cause damage to our eyes, & can cause premature aging.
“Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and the deadliest form, melanoma, has doubled over the last 3 decades,” said Dr. Oliveira.
He said those at risk of getting skin cancer are people who at risk for burns which includes:
- People with fair skin
- Green or blue eyes
- People who have freckles
- Those who have a family history of skin cancer
- Locations change the factors of UV rays
- High altitudes
- Tropical places near the equator
- Certain people with a weakened immune system
Dr. Oliveira explained the signs of skin cancer in alphabetical order calling it the ABCDEs meaning:
A – Asymmetry. Half the mole doesn’t look the same as the other half
B – Border irregular
C – Color is not uniform
D – Diameter is > 6mm (head of a pencil eraser)
E – Evolving size, shape, or color
Now to protect our precious skin he suggests we stay in the shade but also suggests we:
- Wear sunscreen
- If going in & out of the water, reapply sunscreen
- Wear sunglasses
- Wear a hat
- Wear protective clothing