A startling one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Most can be prevented with adequate sun protection, treating early precancerous lesions, and screening for abnormal moles. Melanoma is the potentially deadly form of skin cancer—it is the number one form of cancer in young adults aged 25-29. If caught early, it has a near 100% cure rate. Basal cell carcinomas (or BCCs) are the most common form of skin cancer and something that we see on a daily basis. These skin cancers are not life threatening and most can be treated easily in the clinic but it’s important to catch them early. To learn more about skin cancer, a great resource is the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Beginning in your twenties, annual total body skin checks are an essential part of your preventative health care regimen. Schedule your annual check today by calling 310.546.1188 or request an appointment online.
Dr. Magovern's Quick Tips to Prevent Skin Cancer
- Wear a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF 30 daily, even if you feel like you are indoors most of the time. UV rays can penetrate window glass so even commuters are at risk.
- Moms (or Dads): you can't neglect yourself in the morning. Before going to the park, your playdate, or for a walk—you must apply sunscreen! Most important during those summer days, try to put sunscreen on before you leave the house (especially on the kiddos) so it doesn’t get washed off so easily in the pools or at the beach. You should have to rub it in pretty well—otherwise you are not using enough.
- Men: don’t forget your head and ears. We see lots of skin cancers here.
- Apply sunscreen daily to the face, neck, chest, arms and hands. Make it part of your morning routine. There are excellent sunblocks on the market today. You can no longer use the excuse of it feeling sticky and thick! Click here to view some of Dr. Magovern's favorites.
- Do not deliberately tan. Don't lie in the sun for hours down at 42nd Street like I did growing up. Buy a good umbrella, gazebo or tent. Start a new trend with your friends.
- Avoid tanning booths. No discussion. There are plenty of great self-tanning products and sprays (a favorite of mine is St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse) available today—use those if you want some color.
- Avoid blistering sunburns. It's not a rite of passage anymore. They definitely increase your chance for developing skin cancer.
- Remember, pale is the new tan. Embrace your natural glow.
- Check out the following blogpost for information on How to Examine Your Skin.