Protect Your Skin this Summer: What You Need to Know

Organization: Author:
By: Stacy Byone, NP, Nurse Navigator, MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute, Long Beach Medical Center

Planning on catching some sun this summer? It’s important to remember that skin cancer or melanoma is the most common form of cancer in the U.S. with more than 60,000 cases recorded each year. 

During the summer months its easy to forget about sun exposure and the harm overexposure and ultraviolet rays can have on your skin. Try to keep these tips in mind to keep your skin safe and healthy this summer.

What to Look Out For

Skin cancers can develop anywhere on your body and form when mutations occur in your skin cells causing the cells to grow and form a mass or clump. It most often develops in areas frequently exposed to the sun like your face, ears and the back of your neck, but also can occur in areas that aren’t exposed to the sun.

Signs include:

  • Irregular or growing moles
  • Discolored or multi-colored moles
  • Bleeding or burning moles
  • Painful lesions
  • Dark spots or lesions on your palms, soles, mouth or nose

Make an appointment with your doctor immediately if you develop any of these symptoms. It’s okay to ask questions and remember that not all skin changes are cancerous.

Who’s at Risk

Everyone is at risk, but if you have any of the below characteristics you have a greater chance of developing skin cancer.

  • Family history of skin cancer
  • Previously diagnosed with skin cancer
  • Fair skin
  • Have lots of moles
  • Weakened immune system
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • History of sunburns

What You Can Do

Remember that most skin cancers are preventable. By protecting your skin from the sun and having regular skin cancer screenings you can reduce your risk of skin cancer. Protect your skin by following the tips below.

  • Wear sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher (even on overcast or cloudy days)
  • Reapply sunscreen throughout the day, especially after swimming or sweating
  • Avoid the sun for long periods of time between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Pay attention to changes in your skin
  • Perform a monthly skin cancer self-examination (look for changes in your skin/moles)
  • Avoid tanning beds
  • Wear hats when out in the sun
  • Don’t forget about sunglasses
  • Remember that skin damage can occur in as little as 15 minutes of sun exposure

The MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute at Long Beach Medical Center is committed to helping patients overcome the challenges that come with cancer. The MemorialCare Todd Cancer Institute multi-disciplinary care team provides personalized care for each patient, using the latest innovative technologies and treatments.

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