A recent study conducted right here in Minnesota revealed that there has been a concerning uptick in cancer rates among Minnesotans. The study, which was conducted by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, found that over the last decade, we have seen a 263 percent increase in the diagnosis of squamous cell carcinoma. There has also been a 145 percent increase in basal cell carcinomas.
These non-melanoma skin cancers rarely grab the headlines, but they can be just as deadly. However, you can help reduce your likelihood of developing skin cancers by following some certain steps. We share five ways to reduce your risk of developing skin cancer in today’s blog.
Avoid Tanning Beds
The bronze hue may look appealing to some, but tanning is to skin cancer as smoking is to lung cancer. If you use indoor tanning beds, you’re nearly doubling your risk of developing skin cancer compared to someone who doesn’t use a tanning bed. If you truly need to alter your skin color, consider a spray tan option, as these are much less harmful on your skin.
Always carry some sunscreen in your vehicle or purse, because you never know when it’s going to turn into a long day in the sun. As the weather gets warmer, we tend to ditch the protective clothes layers, which means more of our body is exposed to potentially harmful UV rays. Apply at a lotion with at least SPF 30, and reapply after a couple of hours, or earlier if you’re in and out of the water.
At a minimum, you should be performing a check of your moles for any changes or growths once a month. This is especially true for men, because a recent study by the American Academy of Dermatology found that women are nine times more likely to pay attention to their skin. Look for the ABCDE’s of skin cancer whenever you check, which stands for Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter and Evolving. Click the link to learn more about each of those terms.
Know Your Family History
If you have a family history of skin cancer, or you are genetically predisposed to burns (sorry redheads), then make sure you are even more diligent about following these tips. Genetics play a big role in skin cancer growths, so take ownership in your health and know your risk. Be sure to share this risk with your doctor as well.
Be Safe Rather Than Sorry
Ignoring a potentially cancerous growth isn’t going to solve the problem, in fact, it will only make it more difficult to treat when you finally do it get checked out. When it comes to your health, it is always better to be safe than sorry, so set up a visit with your primary care doctor or a specialist if you are concerned about a growth. The earlier the problem is treated, the better the outcomes, and if the growth turns out to be a non-issue, you’ll give yourself peace of mind.