Your skin is your body’s largest organ and is responsible to keep stuff in (like water) and keep stuff out (like germs). That’s why it’s important to protect your skin.

In light of November’s designation as National Healthy Skin Month, the providers at Affiliated Dermatology are focusing on skin cancer and asking you to consider these statistics when evaluating your skin health:

  • Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.
  • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetimes.
  • On average, one person dies from melanoma every hour.
  • Skin cancer is highly treatable when detected early.

Who’s at Risk

  • People with blond or red hair.
  • People with skin that burns easily.
  • People with more than 50 moles or large moles.
  • History of excessive sun or tanning bed exposure.
  • History of skin cancer.
  • Caucasians and men over 50 have a higher risk of developing melanoma than the general population.
  • While people of color have a lower risk of developing melanoma, the disease is often diagnosed at later stages in the skin of color, when melanoma is advanced and more difficult to treat.

How to Prevent Skin Cancer

  • Avoid UV rays and make the shade your friend.
  • Be extra cautious around water, snow, and sand because they reflect damaging rays and increase sunburn chances.
  • Wear protective clothing and sunscreen.
  • Avoid tanning beds.
  • If a mole changes in size, shape or color or you notice a new or existing spot that itches or bleeds, you should see a board-certified dermatologist.

How to Choose and Use Sunscreen

  • Look for a label that says ‘broad-spectrum’ which protects from ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B rays.
  • Look for water-resistant with a sun protective factor (SPF) between 30 and 50.
  • Apply at least 15 minutes before heading outside, even on cloudy days.
  • Remember your neck, ears, and top of your head.
  • Sunscreens labeled ‘non-comedogenic’ are best for people prone to acne.
  • For lasting protection, it’s best to reapply every two hours.
  • Using sunscreen daily can significantly reduce your skin cancer risk.
  • It’s never too late to start using sunscreen.

Here in Phoenix, Arizona, residents are exposed to considerably more ultraviolet radiation than people in most parts of the country, and this has resulted in a large number of individuals developing skin cancer or precancerous growths. As a result, it is important for local residents to stay vigilant in preventing the development of skin cancer and to report any possible symptoms of skin cancer to their doctor as quickly as possible. Affiliated Dermatology specializes in the treatment of malignant melanoma by using the specialized technique of slow Mohs surgery and nonmelanoma cancers with superficial radiation therapy (SRT). Contact us and book your annual full-body body skin exam today!