WESTON, W.Va. – Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital reminds the public that May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. Cancers of the skin are by far the most common cancer in the U.S. Each year more Americans are diagnosed with skin cancers than all other cancers combined. However, skin cancer can be combatted by taking proper precautions.
SJMH Chief Nursing Officer, Carole Norton, noted, “It is important for the public to realize the importance of using common sense when it comes to exposure to the sun. Sun exposure can result in long-term damage to one’s skin. The American Cancer Society has performed excellent work with their efforts to educate people about the pitfalls of sun exposure and this is just a reminder.”
Kathy Molnar, representative of the American Cancer Society, added, “The National Council on Skin Care Prevention and the ACS have designated the Friday before Memorial Day as Don’t Fry Dayto raise awareness about skin cancer detection. Remember to “Slip! Slop! Slap! … and Wrap” when you’re outdoors – slip on a shirt, slop on broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, slap on a wide-brimmed hat and wrap on sunglasses.”
Risk factors for skin cancer include chronic exposure to ultraviolet radiation, race, gender, age, weakened immunity, family history, chemical exposure, among others.
The best method to lower the risk of skin cancer is to limit exposure to UV radiation. Exposure can be minimized by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, wearing sunglasses that block ultraviolet rays, applying broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 and avoiding sunbathing and indoor tanning.
Children should be protected at an early age because severe sunburns in childhood may particularly increase the risk of melanoma. Smoking cessation and regular skin checks can also help lower the risk of skin cancer.
Warning signs of all skin cancers include changes in the size, shape or color of a mole or other skin lesion, the appearance of a new growth on the skin or a sore that doesn’t heal. Changes that progress over a month or more should be evaluated.