Skin Cancer Prevention and Risks

Basking in the rays of the sunshine state and ending the day with a healthy glow. However, the more likely scenario is that you go home red as a lobster and anxious to get your hands on a bottle of aloe. Whether you are soaking up the sun at the beach, walking around an amusement park, or doing yardwork for the afternoon, an overdose of those powerful rays can put you at risk for skin cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, but there are multiple ways for you to take the correct preventive measures.

  • Avoid the sun when it’s brightest: You should shade whenever possible between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, even if the sky appears cloudy.
  • Wear sunscreen and reapply: While sunscreen doesn’t filter out all harmful ultraviolet rays, it can protect if applied correctly and reapplied when necessary.
  • Avoid tanning beds and sunburns: Tanning beds can be more harmful than the sun and even one sunburn can increase the risk of skin cancers, like melanoma.
  • Check your skin: Keep an eye on freckles, moles, bumps, and birthmarks. Speak with your doctor if anything seems to have changed color, or size, or becomes painful.
  • Know your sun-sensitive medications: Certain medications increase the chance of your skin burning. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if your meds make sun exposure more risky.

The American Cancer Society estimates that approximately 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer are found each year, though many cases likely go unreported. About 76,690 new cases of melanoma skin cancer are diagnosed in the United States annually.

BayCare offers a variety of diagnostic and treatment options for skin cancer. Find a dermatologist near you, find more information on cancer services at BayCare, or call (855) 314-8346 for a physician referral.