The Doctor Is In: Preventing Skin Cancer - New York News

 

The Doctor Is In: Preventing Skin Cancer

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On Wednesday, join Deena Centofanti and experts from Beaumont Health System as they discuss melanoma diagnosis and prevention, information about sun exposure, and how to protect your skin.

Beginning at 8:35, ask your questions in the chat room above.

OUR EXPERTS:

Dr. Ann Hern, Beaumont Dermatologist 


Dr. Richard Keidan, Director, Beaumont Multidisciplinary Melanoma Clinic 

 
 

Melanoma

Skin cancer is a malignant tumor that grows in the skin cells and accounts for more than 50 percent of all cancers. In the US alone, more than 1 million Americans a year will be diagnosed with nonmelanoma skin cancer, and 62,480 will be diagnosed with melanoma, according to the American Cancer Society.

Prevention of skin cancer:

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) has declared war on skin cancer by recommending these three preventive steps:

Wear protective clothing, including a hat with a four-inch brim.

Apply sunscreen all over your body and avoid the midday sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Regularly use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, even on cloudy days.

The following six steps have been recommended by the AAD and the Skin Cancer Foundation to help reduce the risk of sunburn and skin cancer.

Minimize exposure to the sun at midday - between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Apply sunscreen, with at least a SPF-15 or higher that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, to all areas of the body that are exposed to the sun.

Reapply sunscreen every two hours, even on cloudy days. Reapply after swimming or perspiring.

Wear clothing that covers the body and shades the face. Hats should provide shade for both the face and back of the neck. Wearing sunglasses will reduce the amount of rays reaching the eye by filtering as much as 80 percent of the rays, and protecting the lids of our eyes as well as the lens.

Avoid exposure to UV radiation from sunlamps or tanning parlors.

Protect children. Keep them from excessive sun exposure when the sun is strongest (between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.), and apply sunscreen liberally and frequently to children 6 months of age and older.

Remember, sand and pavement reflect UV rays even under the umbrella. Snow is even a particularly good reflector of UV rays. Reflective surfaces can reflect up to 85 percent of the damaging sun rays.

How to perform a skin self-examination:

Finding suspicious moles or skin cancer early is the key to treating skin cancer successfully. A skin self-exam is usually the first step in detecting skin cancer. The following suggested method of self-examination comes from the American Cancer Society:

(You will need a full-length mirror, a hand mirror, and a brightly lit room.)

-Examine your body front and back in mirror, then the right and left sides, with your arms raised. 

-Bend your elbows, look carefully at your forearms, the back of your upper arms, and the palms of your hands. 

-Look at backs of your legs and feet, spaces between your toes, and the soles of your feet. 

-Examine the back of your neck and scalp with a hand mirror. 

-Check your back and buttocks with a hand mirror. 

-Become familiar with your skin and the pattern of your moles, freckles, and other marks. 

-Be alert to changes in the number, size, shape, and color of pigmented areas. 

-Follow the ABCD Chart when examining moles of other pigmented areas and consult your physician promptly if you notice any changes.

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