Skin Cancer Prevention!

As we embrace the warmer days of June, July, and August, it’s the perfect time to remind ourselves about the importance of skin health. May was Skin Cancer Awareness Month, a dedicated period to educate, inform, and remind the public about the dangers of Skin Cancer, the most common cancer in the United States and worldwide.


Understanding Skin Cancer: Skin cancer occurs when skin cells grow uncontrollably, often due to damage from UV radiation. The three main types of skin cancer are:


    • Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC) –  The most common form, usually appearing as a waxy bump or flat lesion on sun-exposed areas.
    • Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) – Often presents as a red, scaly patch or sore that may crust or bleed.
    • Melanoma – The most dangerous type, which can develop in a mole or suddenly appear as a new dark spot on the skin.


Prevention Tips: Protecting your skin is vital. Here are some tips to help you stay safe under the sun:


    • Use Sunscreen:  Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every 2 hours, or more often if swimming or sweating.
    • Seek Shade: Stay in the shade, especially between 10:00 am and 4 pm, when the sun rays are the strongest.
    • Wear Protective Clothing: Opt for long-sleeved shirts, wide-brimmed hats, and UV-blocking sunglasses.
    • Avoid Tanning Beds: These can be just as harmful as direct sun exposure.
    • Stay Informed: Be aware of the UV index in your area to plan outdoor activities safely.


Early Detection Saves Lives: Regular skin checks are crucial for catching skin cancer early. Perform self-examinations once a month looking for:


    • Asymmetry: One half of a mole or spot doesn’t match the other.
    • Border: Edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.
    • Color: Color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue.
    • Diameter: Spot is larger than 6mm across (about the size of a pencil eraser), although melanomas can be smaller.
    • Evolving: Changes in size, shape, color, or another trait (such as itching or bleeding).


If you notice any suspicious changes, schedule an appointment with a Dermatologist!


Spread the Word: Annual visits for preventative skin checks are strongly recommended. Be the first in your family or friend group to advocate for their health and remind them to get their skin checked! Together we can make a significant impact by promoting sun safety and supporting those affected by skin cancer.

Stay safe and sun-smart this summer!



Warm Regards,

Dr. Scott Hennning, DO FAAD