September is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and it is a great time to look at ways to make sure your skin is still cancer free as the summer slowly ends.
Being able to examine one’s own skin is crucial to making sure skin cancer is caught before it progresses very far. One in every five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
“The American Academy of Dermatology reports that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the country,” explains Katherine Goldman, celebrity esthetician/waxologist and owner of the Stript Wax Bar. “The good news is that there are plenty of things we can do to help minimize the risks of getting it.”
Skin cancer develops when skin cells are damaged by tanning beds or sunlight. The damaged cells multiply rapidly and form a tumor. Skin cancer is fast acting, so it is important to be able to learn how to read the signs and seek medical treatment.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when conducting a self examination:
- Twice a year, conduct a self examination of the entire body.
- While examining the entire body, look for moles, birthmarks, beauty marks, or any brown marks.
- Once the marks have been identified, monitor whether they change in color, size, or texture. Pay close attention to any spots that are irregularly shaped or that are larger than the size of a pencil eraser.
- In particular, look for skin growths that appear brown, black, translucent, pearly, or multicolored. Also, look for spots that may be sore, hurt, itchy, bleeding, or scabbed.
- If any spots are found that meet this criteria, be sure to have them checked by a doctor.
“Along with regular examinations, it’s important to protect the skin from the start,” added Goldman. “We need to take measures from the start to help keep our skin safe from the sun and to choose safer tanning options. Our spray tanning is very popular, looks great, and helps people avoid the UV light risks.”
There are 419,000 cases of skin cancer each year that are linked to indoor tanning, despite the information available about the dangers of tanning beds.
Keep informed on the causes of skin cancer. Take precautions to limit the danger to your skin, and remember to conduct self examinations to stop skin cancer in its tracks.
Story by Grace Baldwin