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Lower Your Risk for Skin Cancer

April 11, 2018

Arpan Patel, MD advises screening in May as part of Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Decatur, GA – Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Fortunately, there are strategies to reduce your chances of getting skin cancer in the first place and it is highly treatable when detected early.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the number one cause of skin cancer and UV light from tanning beds is just as harmful. One little known fact is that exposure to sunlight during the winter months puts you at the same risk as exposure during the summertime.

Arpan Patel, MD, with Scott Boulevard Internal Medicine in Decatur, offers tips to lower your changes of developing skin cancer. Consider the following:

  • Wear Sunscreen - Make sunscreen a daily habit. UV radiation can still damage skin even on cloudy days. Use broad-spectrum sunscreen (protects against UVA and UVB rays) with SPF of at least 30 according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
  • Wear Protective Clothing - Protect your body with sun-protective clothing, hat, and sunglasses.
  • Avoid Peak Rays - Seek shade during the mid-day sun, when the sun’s rays are most intense.
  • Don’t Use Tanning Beds.
  • Protect Children - Just one bad sunburn in childhood or adolescence doubles your child’s chances of developing skin cancer later in life.

If you notice a place on your skin changing (size, color or shape), itching or bleeding, please visit your primary care physician who can perform a skin check and determine whether the spot should be observed or whether you should see a dermatologist for further testing. Skin cancer is highly treatable when caught early so it is important to be screened.