SAMC Doctor explains easiest ways to avoid skin cancer

Photo: Hans Braxmeier
Photo: Hans Braxmeier(WNDU)
Published: Jul. 4, 2018 at 10:12 AM CDT
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Soaking up the sun or using a tanning bed can do more than turn your skin a different shade. Doctors say it can put you at risk for skin cancer.

"Most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma,” said Dr.Adkison, SAMC Radiation Oncologist. “But melanoma is also a more serious skin cancer."

If caught early most skin cancers are surgically removed, but some may need additional treatment.

"We use radiation therapy as the treatment particularly in sensitive locations like the nose eyelids or the ear," mentioned Adkison.

Dr.Adkison explains tanning beds pose no health benefits, and that a "healthy tan" is a misconception.

"The body's response from tanning is a response to the damage done from UV rays, so that does place the patient at risk for skin cancer later in life"

It's important to keep in mind most skin cancers are not hereditary. As patients get older their risk of developing skin cancer goes up.

"Patients with fair complexions are typically at a higher risk to develop skin cancers, but skin cancer can affect all ethnicities,” explained Adkison. “At early ages and even in childhood, need to be proactive about apply sunscreen before going outside."

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends applying a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF30 or higher, because it blocks out 97% of the harmful UV rays. You should apply it 10 – 15 minutes before heading outside.

Sunscreen is not your only option when protecting your skin.

"Wear wide brim hats to try and limit the exposure,” said Dr.Adkison. “They can also wear sunglasses to protect the skin around the eyes and do self-check themselves."

Be on the lookout for any news pots that are itchy, growing, changing color, not healing, or have a rigid border. If you find one, contact a dermatologist. If you still want a summer glow, Dr.Adkison says go for sunless tanning products that have moisturizers in them.