Risks and Prevention of Skin Cancer
With the sun just starting to shine, it’s no surprise that May is National Skin Cancer
Awareness Month. As more people step outside, exposure to harmful UV rays is on
the rise. If you haven’t already, now may be a good time to schedule your yearly skin
exam. In the meantime, do a self-check at home and be aware of these risks of skin
cancer. Muskegon Surgical Associates offers skin exams with their board certified plastic surgeons.
Self-Check Skin Exam
Regardless of skin color, everyone should perform a skin exam at least once a year.
Using a full length or handheld mirror, check your skin from head to toe including
toes, buttock and scalp. You will be looking for suspicious spots or moles that show
signs of skin cancer, which are broken down in our melanoma blog .
Family members with a history of skin cancer can increase your risk. In the same
vein, having many moles, freckles or beauty marks can also play a part. People with
very fair skin, particularly those with red or blonde hair, or blue or green eyes and
burn easily also have an increased risk of developing skin cancer.
Weakened Immune System
Those with a compromised immune system, such as diabetes or lupus are more
likely to develop skin cancer. Certain medical treatments, like chemotherapy, can
also increase the risk. If you have a compromised immune system ask your provider
or dermatologist about protecting and caring for your skin.
Those who tend to spend more time exposed to the sun, either for work or other
reasons, naturally have an increased risk. When outdoors for an extended period of
time protective gear such as hats and sunglasses are recommended to block UV
rays. Weather permitting, clothing that covers your arms and legs is a great first
defense against the sun. As always, daily sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 on
the face and neck is recommended to minimize sun damage over time. Finally,
self-tanning both outdoors and in tanning beds can lead to an increased risk of skin
Yearly skin checks are the best way to detect skin cancer early. To schedule a skin check, contact our plastic surgery office at 231-739-1933.
MSA can also help treat and remove skin cancer. To learn more, contact MSA or
visit Pure Medical Spa for more skincare options.