It’s May in Florida and it’s only getting hotter as we approach the official start of summer. May also happens to be Melanoma (skin cancer) awareness month, which kicks off today with Melanoma Monday. While we love our patients, we aim to provide information that keeps them out of our offices. Below are some tips and tricks from Dr. B to keep you safe in the sun and out of our clinics!
First and foremost, if you are going to be outside, wear sunscreen that is at least 35 SPF or higher. Ideally, it is best to stay covered in lightweight, SPF rated shirts, but since North Florida on average reaches 90+ degrees from June-August, we know that’s not the most comfortable option. The best solution to keep you cool and protected from harsh UV rays is to wear sunscreen and reapply every two hours!
Keep an Eye on Your Freckles!
Even if you wear sunscreen every day, it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on new and existing freckles. If you notice a new freckle forming, take a picture! It could be nothing, but it is good to have a record to show your dermatologist in case it continues to grow.
Know your ABCDEs!
In the event that you do see a new freckle forming, or an existing one changing, remember your ABCDEs:
- A for Asymmetry: Many skin cancers are asymmetrical.
- B for Border: The borders of skin cancers tend to be uneven.
- C for Color: Skin cancers tend to be darker than normal freckles as they have more melanin in them.
- D for Diameter: Make sure that your new freckle doesn’t grow to bigger than a pencil eraser.
- E for Evolving: A rapidly growing freckle could be a sign of something nefarious.
If you noticed any of these changes on a new (or existing) freckle, contact a dermatologist to take a look.
See a Dermatologist Regularly!
Since we live in the Sunshine State, it’s best to see a dermatologist annually. Establishing a relationship with a dermatologist provides adequate tracking of changes on the skin and regular, full-body checks. Many people forget about places like their scalp or behind their ears, both very common areas for skin cancer growths. While it’s good to do your due diligence at home, you can’t beat seeing an expert – or rather, having an expert see you!
For more information on skin cancer awareness and prevention, check out Episode 3 of the Medical Minute with Dr. Rick and Dr. Danny, dropping on May 18!