SWEDESBORO — May heralds the beginning of spring and prepares us for summer. The best preparation is to remember that May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month.
May is the month that reminds us about sun exposure and get ready for the outdoor days of summer. May is the month to remember sun exposure can lead to skin cancer.
May is also the month to give your skin a thorough examination. Look for melanoma on body and scalp.
A self-examination should follow the ABCD’s- “A” is for asymmetry, a mole that does not look the same on both sides when divided in half. “B” is for border, a mole with edges that are often uneven, notched or scalloped. “C” is for color; moles are usually a single shade of brown. If there are two or more shades of brown or black in a single mole, it may be malignant. “D” is for diameter; common moles are usually the size of a pencil eraser, 1/4” or less. Early melanomas are often larger. Have a friend check your back, or visit your skin care doctor for an annual check-up.
Always practice sun smartness. Remember sun exposure is your skin’s worst enemy. Review the rules for sun exposure for yourself and family members. Avoid the sun if possible, especially when rays are strongest, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
If you must be in the sun, always use sunscreen that is waterproof and sweat-proof and has an SPF (sun protection factor) of 15 or higher. Follow this advice all year long-even in winter cold months-remember the sun reflection off snow and water is very strong.
Children six months and older should also be well protected. Remind teenagers of the dangers of oiling up to bronze.
Apply sunscreen often if exposure is longer than a few hours, especially after water sports. Along with sunscreen, check to see that family members wear protective clothing and eye wear.