Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute Celebrates Skin Cancer Awareness Month

Approximately 2 million people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year making it the most common form of cancer in the United States. It is also the easiest to cure if diagnosed and treated early. Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute marks Skin Cancer Awareness Month in May with skin cancer screenings to help you protect your skin.

Skin cancer is the result of abnormal skin cells that grow uncontrollably. It is caused by damage to skin cell’s DNA, most often caused by ultraviolet radiation from both natural and man-made sources, such as sunshine and tanning beds.

The most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Melanoma, another type of skin cancer, is less common but the most deadly.

Reduce Your Skin Cancer Risk

More than 90 percent of skin cancers are caused by ultraviolet radiation, so the best way to reduce your risk for skin cancer is to protect your skin by limiting your exposure.

You can help protect yourself and your family by following these 8 rules:

Your risk for melanoma doubles if you have five or more sunburns at any point in your life.

Tanning is never safe. Even occasional tanning bed use triples your risk for melanoma.

Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses. Clothing can be your most effective form of sun protection.

Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every day.

When the sun is strongest, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., stay in the shade. Make sure you choose early mornings and late afternoons to take part in your favorite outdoor activity.

Examine your skin head-to-toe every month. If you notice any change in an existing mole or discover a new one that looks suspicious, see a dermatologist immediately.

Those with fair skin, red or blond hair, a family history, or green or blue eyes are at a higher risk, but no one is immune to developing skin cancer.

See your dermatologist every year for a professional skin exam.