With summer in full swing and pool season upon us, we all need to shift our attention to the dangers of skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, accounting for nearly half of all cancers in the United States. The most serious type of skin cancer is melanoma, the kind Norah O’Donnell was diagnosed with. The anchor of the CBS Evening News and the #1 most-watched woman on TV news in America, recently sat down with My Hometown Health to share the lessons that experience taught her and why she believes women across the United States need to reimagine their relationships with their healthcare providers. Norah is taking advantage of her high-profile position to get the word out about melanoma, the dangerous skin cancer that accounts for more than 75 percent of the skin-cancer deaths that occur each year.
With skin cancer being so common, it’s extremely important to know how to detect it. Check for any changes to your skin once a month, and watch for moles that have any of the following signs:
Asymmetric: An irregular shape with two parts that look very different.
Border: A ragged, uneven or blurred edge.
Color: Benign moles are usually one color, typically brown. A malignant mole may be several shades of brown, black, tan, or even red, white, or blue.
Diameter: Moles larger than the size of a pea should be examined.
Evolving: Any change in the size, shape, color, elevation, or any other trait of a mole, or new symptoms such as itching, bleeding, or crusting, are signs that it’s time to see a doctor.
In addition, you should make an appointment once a year to have your dermatologist check your skin.
How To Protect Yourself From Skin Cancer
Sunburn caused by excessive exposure to sunlight is the primary cause of skin cancer. To protect yourself and your family this summer, follow the Slip! Slop! Slap!and Wrap rule:
SLIP on a shirt and other protective clothing to cover as much skin as possible.
SLOP on the sunscreen on all exposed skin. Make sure you use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Don’t skimp. Use a generous amount, even on overcast days. Be sure to reapply after swimming, toweling dry or sweating.
SLAP on a wide-brimmed hat. Remember that a baseball cap does not protect your ears and neck, so use sunscreen there.
WRAP on some sunglasses that absorb ultraviolet rays to protect your eyes and the surrounding skin.
Brentwood Communications helps hospitals stay in touch with their communities through an informative and cost-effective digital and printed magazine called My Hometown Health, a powerful tool to help promote better health and raise awareness of key services available at the hospital. We make creating and publishing a customized, local community health magazine easy and convenient. Click here to discover more about how Brentwood Communications specializes in promoting non-urban hospitals.