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Top Eight Tips To Protect Your Skin

close up of an arm with sunscreen applied in a sun design with a finger pointing at it

Top Skin Cancer Prevention Tips from a Leading Oncologist

We hope you’re enjoying getting outdoors and training for the ride. As the temperature heats up, though, it’s important to pause and take some basic precautions to protect your skin from the sun. There will be an estimated 96,480 new cases of melanoma this year in the nation and an estimated 7,230 deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. Here are the top tips Dr. Andrea Abbott, a surgical oncologist who specializes in treating melanoma at Hollings Cancer Center, wants people to remember.

  1. Get screened – at least once a year by your dermatologist. See your dermatologist more often if you have:
    • New or concerning lesions or spots
    • Have a family history
  2. When shopping for a sunscreen, seek out broad-spectrum coverage with a minimum SPF of 30 or 45.
  3. Check the ingredients in your sunscreen. The FDA recently put out recommendations. Two ingredients considered safe and effective: zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.
  4. Apply sunscreen generously. Use a shot glass full and reapply every two hours and after swimming.
  5. Wear protective clothing when outdoors, particularly between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  6. Try to stay out of direct sun during the most sun-intense (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) part of the day.
  7. Not all melanoma is black- it can be blue, purple, red, or pink. It can show up as an abnormal mole that has different shapes and sizes. What to look out for:
    • Itching, growing or bleeding spots
    • Variation in color in a mole
    • Changes in color
    • New spots that show up out of nowhere and do not go away.
  8. Look in places “where the sun doesn’t shine.” You can get melanoma in places you might not expect, including between the toes, on your scalp and in private areas. Make sure you get thorough screenings. “Melanoma can be very aggressive and early detection is key.”

Here, patient Steven Fee shares about T-VEC, a promising treatment for melanoma offered at Hollings Cancer Center.

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