Doctors in the Ozarks remind you of the ABCs of recognizing skin cancer

The unofficial start to summer begins this weekend and doctors want to remind you of the warning signs of skin cancer.
Published: May. 24, 2023 at 4:50 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The unofficial start to summer begins this weekend and doctors want to remind you of the warning signs of skin cancer.

Melanoma is one of the most common types of skin cancer. One of the leading causes of melanoma is sun exposure. It’s essential to protect your skin, but if you notice any unusual spots pop up, remember your ABCs:

  • Asymmetry: if one half of the mole looks different than the other
  • Border: If the mole has a rough or textured outline.
  • Color: If the mole has shades of brown and black or other white, blue, or pink areas.
  • Diameter: If the mole is larger than the end of an eraser
  • Evolution: If the mole has changed over time or these symptoms are present, it’s time to see a doctor. Another thing to remember is that melanoma can happen to anyone at any age.

“Your risk increases as you get older,” said CoxHealth Oncology Manager Autumn Bragg. “And that makes sense when considering ultraviolet exposure increases your risk. So the longer you’re exposed, the more you’re exposed, the bigger risks you have, so over a lifetime of exposure, that certainly makes your risk higher.”

One of the most common mistakes people make is not applying enough sunscreen, which is the best way to protect your skin from getting skin cancer. Any exposure to the sun can cause damage. Instead, you get burned or not. When picking out sunscreen, dermatologists recommend choosing one with an SPF range of 30-50. Just because you use sunscreen with a higher SPF doesn’t necessarily mean you have more protection. You also need to remember to. reapply

“We usually recommend, regardless of whatever the SPF is, is that you reapply every like two hours that you’re out in the sun,” said Braggs. “But often, if you’re out swimming or if you’re sweating a lot, you know, anytime you feel like your skin has gotten moist from sweater or swimming is probably a good idea to pat down and reapply at that time.”

Also, avoid being outside between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV rays are the strongest. You can use hats and UV protective clothing to shade protect your skin from the sun.

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