Every year, the first Monday in May is designated as Melanoma Monday to raise awareness about melanoma. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Melanoma is a type of skin cancer, that is less common than some others, but melanoma is more dangerous because it is more likely to spread to other parts of the body if not diagnosed and treated early.
While melanoma and other skin cancers aren’t 100% preventable, there are ways to reduce your risk. They include:
- Wear sunscreen to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. Re-apply sunscreen every 2 hours even on cloudy days.
- Find shade especially in the hours between 10 am and 2 pm. Trees, umbrellas, and awnings provide excellent sun protection on warm sunny days.
- Don’t let the clouds fool you. UV rays still reach the Earth and your skin on a cloudy day
- Other forms of sun protection include wearing sunglasses, a broad-brimmed hat, long sleeves, and pants. And don’t forget to protect the back of your neck.
- Avoid tanning beds. The UV light in tanning beds puts you at risk for melanoma
- Half of a person’s lifetime skin exposure occurs in the childhood and adolescence years making it important to remember to use these principals and teach effective skin safety behaviors to children.
- Regularly check your skin for abnormal moles. If you notice changes, see your dermatologist to have it checked