Think you’re immune from skin cancer? Think again. One out of every three Floridians will develop skin cancer, making us the second highest ranking skin cancer state in the country.
"Skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers, and if caught early, it’s easy to treat," says Gregory Pennock, M.D., with MD Anderson Cancer Center Orlando. "However, if it’s not treated, it can spread throughout the body and be fatal.”
“Eighty percent of our lifetime sun exposure occurs by age 18. Skin damage is cumulative, so the sunburn you get this week – no matter what your age – may take 20 years or more to become cancer,” elaborates Pennock.
- A family history of skin cancer
- Exposure to the sun without UVA-UVB sunscreen
- Frequent exposure to chemical irritants or ultraviolet radiation
- A large number of mole (more than 40)
- Scars from trauma or previous sun damage
- A home in a sunny climate
Reduce your chances with these tips
- Even if you’re not a blue-eyed blonde, wear sunscreen. All ethnicities are susceptible.
- Minimize sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Don’t be fooled by cool or overcast days – apply UVA-UVB sunscreen (SPF-15+) to exposed areas 30 minutes before heading out so a protective layer can bind to your skin.
- Reapply sunscreen after extended exposure, swimming or perspiring.
- Wear protective clothing to cover your body, face and neck.
- Be sure your sunglasses block UVA and UVB rays.
- NEVER use a sunlamp or tanning bed. The bulbs emit UVA rays, which can lead to skin cancer.
- If you have moles, see a dermatologist annually for a skin check.
The most common sign of skin cancer is a sore that does not heal, a mole or freckle with more than one of the unusual “ABCD” characteristics listed below:
- A - Asymmetry – Do both sides of the mole match?
- B - Border (Irregular)
- C - Color (Varying shades)
- D - Diameter (Bigger than a pencil eraser)
- E – Evolution (Changes)
If you have concerns, see your dermatologist. To learn more and receive free sunscreen, call 321.841.7246 or visit this page.