Melanoma: Proper Sun Protection Helps Reduce Risk

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. Melanoma was once considered a cancer of adults because it was rarely diagnosed in young people. However, reports indicate that melanoma has increased in children and young adults at an alarming rate with teenagers at the highest risk level because of indoor tanning.

With summer fun just around the corner and the lifting of Covid restrictions, Dr. Monique S. Cohn, DO FAOCD and Stacey Kimber, PA-C at Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Center are urging people, particularly young adults, to practice proper sun protection. That includes understanding the importance of early detection of skin cancer, the most common type of cancer.

To minimize your risk of skin cancer, Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Center recommends that everyone should take these precautions while in the sun:

  • Generously apply a broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 to all exposed skin. “Broad-spectrum” provides protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.
  • Re-apply every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
  • Keep in mind that the sun’s rays are strongest between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Protect children from sun exposure by playing in the shade, wearing protective clothing, and applying sunscreen often.
  • Use extra caution near water, snow and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun which can increase your chance of sunburn.
  • Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements.
  • Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkles. If you want to look like you’ve been in the sun, consider using a UV-free self-tanning product.
  • Check your whole body once every year. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, contact our office soon. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.

Like many cancers, skin cancers start as precancerous lesions. These precancerous lesions are changes in skin that are not cancer but could become cancer over time. It is important to know what to look for and how to look for it when dealing with early skin cancer detection. Medical professionals often refer to these changes as dysplasia. Some specific dysplastic changes that occur in skin are as follows:

  • Actinic keratosis is a patch of red or brown, scaly, rough skin, which can develop into any kind of skin cancer, but most commonly precede the appearance of a squamous cell carcinoma.
  • A nevus is a mole, and dysplastic nevi are abnormal moles. These can develop into melanoma over time.

If you are due for your yearly full body skin exam or you notice something on your body that just doesn’t look right, contact Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Center by calling 330-425-7600 to set up an appointment in Twinsburg.

And, do not skip the kids.  Play a game to Spot the Spots head to toes, maybe after bath time or a shower.  Dr. Cohn says it is so important to teach them about skin health and preventative medicine when they are young.

If there is something on you or your kids that you are worried about, let us know and we will try to get you in ASAP.