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I’m At Risk for Skin Cancer — What Should I Do?

A common misconception about skin cancer is that it only affects people with fair skin, light eyes, and light hair. However, anyone can get skin cancer, so everyone is at risk. And rates of skin cancer in the United States are on the rise, so we should all take steps to protect our skin.

At Associated Skin Care Specialists, our board-certified dermatologists find and treat all types of skin cancer. Our team includes fellowship-trained Mohs micrographic dermatologic surgeons. Mohs surgery is one of the most effective treatments for the more common types of skin cancer like squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC). 

We’re excited to offer advanced treatments for skin cancer, but prevention is the best place to start. Here, we provide some tips on what you can do to protect yourself from skin cancer.

Use sunscreen daily

Skin cancer most often affects the skin that gets the most sun exposure — the face, ears, and hands. Applying sunscreen to the exposed areas protects your skin from the sun. 

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using a broad-spectrum, waterproof sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. If you’re spending a lot of time out in the sun, reapply sunscreen every couple of hours. 

Wear sun-protective clothing

Sunscreen isn’t foolproof. Covering up with clothing offers another layer of protection from the sun. Wear pants, long-sleeved shirts, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses when you’re out in the sun. 

Look for clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) number on the label for even more skin shielding. UPF indicates the amount of UV light the fabric blocks. For example, clothing with a UPF of 50 blocks 98% of the sun’s UV rays

Skip indoor tanning

Tanned skin isn’t healthy. Your skin darkens when exposed to UV light from the sun or a tanning lamp as a means of self-protection. A tan is an injury to the skin. 

The UV light in tanning beds is especially damaging to the skin, increasing the risk of skin cancer. So, it’s best to skip indoor tanning.

Check your skin regularly

If you’re at risk of skin cancer, you need to do a monthly self-skin check. Regularly evaluating your skin from head to toe helps you become familiar with your normal skin marks and moles, making it easier to spot abnormalities.

Make an appointment with one of our dermatologists if you have any new or changing skin growths or moles. Unusual-looking moles are especially worrisome because they may indicate melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer

Early diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer increases your chances of a full recovery.

We offer expert dermatology care at our offices in Blaine, Maple Grove, Coon Rapids, Eden Prairie, New Brighton, and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Call the office nearest you today to schedule a visit. 

We also have an office in Fridley, Minnesota, where we do our pathology lab work following a skin biopsy and conduct dermatology research.

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