3) Protect your skin daily. Research shows that applying -- and frequently reapplying -- a daily broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher can slash a person’s risk of developing skin cancer. New FDA guidelines issued in 2012 help take the guesswork out of buying over-the-counter sunscreen because products must protect against both ultraviolet-B and ultraviolet-A rays, since exposure to both types of UV radiation can lead skin cancer. In addition, seek shade from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. when the sun’s rays are strongest, and wear protective clothing.
4) Do not use indoor tanning beds. There is mounting evidence that the increased use of indoor tanning beds is at least partially responsible for the uptick in skin cancers. A 2012 study found that indoor tanning before age 35 increases a person’s risk of getting melanoma by 75 percent. “Whether your skin became tan from the sun’s rays or a tanning bed, it’s all harmful and damaging,” explains Dr. Tsou.
5) Avoid getting a sunburn. Sunburn is a red flag that your skin has been exposed too much ultraviolet radiation, which increases skin cancer risk. Half of adults under age 30 report having a sunburn at least once in the past year, according to two 2012 studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute.
The only way to accurately diagnose melanoma is with a biopsy in which all or part of the suspicious mole or growth is removed and examined microscopically by a pathologist. If melanoma is diagnosed, the next step is to determine the extent, or stage, of the cancer and the appropriate treatment.
Even though we are making progress in treating melanoma,” says Dr. Tsou, “the message we need
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