Skin Cancer Risk Factors, Examination, and Prevention

Palm Beach Dermatology Group

Skin Cancer Risk Factors

In addition to unprotected or excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, the other risk factors for skin cancer include:

  • A fair complexion
  • Occupational exposures to coal tar, pitch, creosote, arsenic compounds, or radium
  • A family history of skin cancer
  • Multiple or abnormal moles
  • Severe sunburns as a child or teen
  • Immunosuppression due to chemotherapy, radiation, organ transplant, HIV, or AIDS

Skin Cancer Examinations

Play your role in preventing skin cancer by staying on the lookout for any of the following symptoms. If you do find something questionable, report it immediately to your doctor.

By conducting consistent self-examinations and regular appointments with your dermatologist, you can help spot and stop skin cancer. Signs of skin cancer may include:

  • A new growth forming on your skin
  • Any change on the skin, especially in the size or color of a mole, spot, or other dark growth or spot, or a new growth
  • Scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or a change in the appearance of a bump
  • The changing or spreading of pigmentation past the edge of a mole
  • A change in skin sensation, itchiness, tenderness, or pain in a mole growth

Skin Cancer Prevention

Of course, the absolute best way to lower your risk of non-melanoma skin cancer is by limiting or avoiding intense sunlight and practicing sun safety.

  • Avoid the sun between 10 am and 4 pm
  • Look for shade, especially mid-day when the sun's rays are the strongest
  • Apply the "shadow rule" and teach it to your children and grandchildren: If your shadow is shorter than you are, the sun's rays are at their strongest.
  • Cover up with protective clothing to protect as much skin as possible when you're in the sun. Select comfortable clothing with tightly woven fabrics.
  • Use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher and a sunblock that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Apply it generously and reapply it after swimming, toweling dry, or perspiring. Be sure to use sunscreen even on hazy or overcast days.
  • Cover your head with a wide-brimmed hat that shades your face, ears, and neck. If you wear a baseball cap, protect your ears and neck with sunscreen.
  • Wear sunglasses with 99% to 100% UV absorption, giving the best possible protection for your eyes.

Time for your own full-body skin cancer screening? Call today at (561) 499-0660 to set up an appointment for healthy, beautiful skin for a lifetime.

Visit our patient education library to learn more about skin cancer, skin cancer types, and skin cancer treatments.

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