Learn your risks for skin cancer

Protect your skin from cancer

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Lather up! Now is the time to make sure you are preparing your skin to be outside all summer long.

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, more people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the U.S. than all other cancers combined.

Dr. Stephen Plumb, Phoebe Dermatologist (Source: WALB)
Dr. Stephen Plumb, Phoebe Dermatologist (Source: WALB)

Phoebe dermatologist Dr. Stephen Plumb said you need to keep an eye on new spots, areas changing color, size or shape, or sores that won’t heal.

You can always have a friend or significant other check in areas that are hard to see like your back as well.

And to prevent skin cancer, limit sun exposure.

You can get a lot of direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

If you are outside, wear lightweight and light colored clothing, consider a hat, and even closed-toed shoes to protect your feet-- a common place to get sunburned.

A melanoma poster hangs in a doctor's office (Source: WALB)
A melanoma poster hangs in a doctor's office (Source: WALB)

“It doesn’t mean you have to live in a cave, but you should be aware of how much sunlight you’re getting. And as I said, if you can find shade that’s great. Protective awnings, things like that are very beneficial,” explained Plumb.

Cancer doc gives protective practices

Dermatologists recommend using an SPF 30 sunscreen to protect your body if you’re out in the sun whether for short or long periods of time.

The most common skin cancer is basal cell cancer followed by squamous cell and then melanoma.

Plumb said if it’s small and caught early for any of these three types of skin cancer the cure rate is excellent-- nearly 100 percent.

“So when we talk about moles, the millimeters are what kind of come into play. So bigger than six millimeters or a pencil eraser. If they’re bigger than that it doesn’t mean they’re bad but it could be a concerning sign, especially if they’re changing,” said Plumb.

If skin cancer is detected, a doctor would remove the spot surgically. Following the procedure, the patient would then need to get skin checks regularly.

Even if you don’t have skin cancer, Dr. Plumb recommends do a monthly body check of your skin.

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