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The Best Preventive Measures Against Skin Cancer

The Best Preventive Measures Against Skin Cancer

Here in sunny Arizona, skin cancer is all too common, with over 3,100 new cases being diagnosed last year alone. But even though one in five American adults develop skin cancer in their lifetime, and two Americans die of skin cancer every hour, early detection and today’s modern treatments help 99% of people diagnosed with skin cancer survive. 

At A to Z Dermatology with offices in Mesa, Sun City, Casa Grande, Gold Canyon, and Chandler, Arizona, our skin experts use state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment methods to help our patients overcome different types of skin cancer. We also believe the best way to treat skin cancer is to prevent it. 

We’ve put together this helpful guide explaining what you need to know about skin cancer and the best preventive measures you can take to protect your skin. 

Understanding skin cancer

Every year, over one million Americans with nonmelanoma skin cancers, like basal cell carcinoma, receive their diagnosis. And hundreds of thousands more are diagnosed with melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer. 

Exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun is the most common cause of these types of skin cancer. The skin that goes unprotected by clothes, such as your arms, face, head, and ears, has the most risk. 

Skin cancers may also be caused by abnormal cells in moles or precancerous lesions (actinic keratoses). Other things that elevate your risk of developing skin cancer include tanning beds, exposure to radiation, exposure to certain chemicals or medications, a weakened immune system, and having a family history of cancer. 

Tips for preventing skin cancer

While sunlight is necessary to your health, helping keep your vitamin D levels high, boosting serotonin, and more, spending too much time in the sun without taking preventive measures can lead to sun-damaged skin and skin cancer. Here’s a look at some of the best ways you can protect yourself: 

1. Wear sunscreen throughout the year

Without a doubt, the best preventive measure you can take to protect against skin cancer is to wear sunscreen — especially here in Arizona where the sun’s rays are bright and strong all year long. 

Sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 blocks harmful UV rays, lowering your risk of both photodamage (sun damage) and skin cancer. When it comes to applying sunscreen, here are some things to remember:

Wearing sunscreen regularly applies to both children and adults, so if you have children, be sure to help them apply sunscreen so they’re fully protected. 

2. Avoid exposure during peak sunlight hours

The sun is at its most dangerous during peak hours, which are between 10am and 2pm. For the best protection against skin cancer, avoid sun exposure during this period. When that’s not possible, take steps to protect your skin by finding shade under a tree or umbrella, wearing clothes that cover your skin, putting on a hat, and making sure you wear and reapply sunscreen.

3. Wear clothing that offers good sun protection

The good news is that many clothes are now made with SPF and UPF materials that help protect your skin from the sun. If you know you’ll be spending time outdoors, choose clothes with this added layer of sun protection. If you don’t have clothes with built-in SPF, opt for clothes with good coverage, like long-sleeve shirts or pants. 

4. Avoid indoor tanning beds

Tanning beds may help you tan more evenly, but they blast your skin with high doses of UV light. This added exposure increases your risk of developing skin cancer, so to protect your skin, be sure to avoid indoor tanning beds.

5. Get an annual skin check

One of the best things you can do to protect your skin is to schedule regular skin cancer checks with an expert at A to Z Dermatology. These checks help find cancerous spots early, improving your chances at effective treatment and a full recovery.  

Our office uses the latest in skin cancer therapies to ensure your health, including:

You can’t avoid the sun completely, but you can do your part to manage your risk of developing skin cancer. For more tips or to book your annual skin check, schedule an appointment online or over the phone with the team at A to Z Dermatology today. 

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