Who should get a skin cancer screening and how often?
It’s important to be aware of any changes in your skin, especially if you work outside or do a lot of outdoor activities — not just in the summer but year-round. Self-examine your skin every month to look for anything that is different. People who are considered high risk should be examined by a health care provider. Learn how you can be smarter about sun exposure.
How to prevent skin cancer and detect it.
There are smart ways to block the sun’s rays. Follow them to protect yourself from the sun. It’s also important to be aware of any changes in your skin, especially if you work outside or do a lot of outdoor activities — not just in the summer but year-round. Self-examine your skin every month to look for anything that is different.
Protect your skin.
There are things you can do to stay protected from the sun’s rays. Wear sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, sunglasses, a wide brim hat, and clothes that cover most of your body. Stay in the shade, under a tree or umbrella, and check your skin often for any changes.
Who should be screened:
If you spend time in the sun, particularly if you work outdoor, you should be screened. You should also be screened regularly if you have a lighter natural skin color, blue or green eyes, blond or red hair, and skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily, or becomes painful in the sun. See a dermatologist if you notice any changes in your skin that look abnormal.
Stay on top of any skin changes.
Is that rough spot something you should worry about? Here’s a look at four types of skin cancer and their descriptions.
- Basil cell carcinoma — Can look like a waxy or white bump, a scaly patch or an unhealed sore.
- Malignant Melanoma — The most serious and potentially deadly skin cancer. It can appear as a pigmented patch or bump, usually as an irregular mole.
- Solar Keratosis — A precancerous condition that looks like a small rough spot on skin.
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma — This could appear as an unhealed sore, a red nodule or rough bump.
Need help scheduling a screening?
Nurse Navigators can schedule your cancer screening for you. Learn more now.
What causes skin cancer?
People who are at a higher risk:
- Are exposed to excessive ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun, tanning lamps, or tanning beds
- Have a history of frequent sunburns (especially before age 20)
- Have many moles (particularly those that are abnormal)
- Have light-colored skin, freckles, light hair, and/or blue or green eyes
- Are Caucasian (Caucasians are 10 times more likely to have melanoma than African Americans)
- Have a family or personal history of malignant melanoma
- Are women younger than age 40 and men older than age 40
- Have xeroderma pigmentosum (a rare, inherited condition)
Learn more about skin cancer:
These links give you skin cancer prevention tips, and they help you learn how to identify moles that could be warning signs and how to stay sun-safe: