Have you been enjoying the warmer weather and more frequent sunshine-filled days? My kids and I have, too. But don’t run out the door too quickly!
Even if you’re only going as far as your backyard, taking a few extra minutes to protect your and your family’s skin is a must!
When we are out having fun in the sun, we are exposing our bodies to ultraviolet (UV) rays. This exposure can cause the dreaded “C” word-cancer; in particular, skin cancer. I was diagnosed with melanoma in December 2013. One of my risk factors was multiple sunburns as a child.
Skin cancer is a collective term for a variety of types of cancer that affect the skin, lips, eyelids, and nails. All types of skin cancers have very high cure rates and excellent outcomes when detected early.
It is recommended to get a skin check every 1-2 years by a dermatologist.
You can go to AAD.org to find a dermatologist near you!
Skin Cancer- What You Need To Know
The most common type of skin cancer is called basal cell carcinoma (BCC), which affects over two million Americans a year. It affects both men and women and occurs most commonly on skin surfaces exposed to excessive ultraviolet light such as the face, scalp, ears, neck, chest, hands, and forearms.
The second most common skin cancer is squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)and affects about 700,000 Americans a year. Like BCCs, SCCs most commonly occur on sun-exposed skin. This is why it is extremely important to use SPF sunscreen daily, paying close attention to the areas of your skin that aren’t covered by SPF clothing, hat, or sunglasses.
Melanoma is a less common form of skin cancer with about 200,000 new diagnoses every year in the United States. Melanoma derives from the cells that make pigment for our skin called melanocytes. Melanoma has a very high cure rate (5 year survival rate of 99%) if it is found very early in the disease while the cancer is still very thin. However, melanoma can spread quickly in the body if it becomes too thick and/or deep, and sadly, one American dies hourly from melanoma.
In this interview of Babies After 35 and Dr. Jennifer Deaver Peterson of Pearl Dermatology in Houston, TX, we discuss what you need to know for protection and prevention of skin cancer.
Click here to watch the video
What are the signs of melanoma?
Melanomas often have one or more features of the ABCDE rule and can appear on any surface of the skin.
A = asymmetry, the appearance of the lesion looks different from left to right or top to bottom
B = borders are irregular and not smooth
C = colors that are varied, with hues of black, dark brown, blue, white, or red color
D = diameter greater than 6 mm
E = evolution or changing
In women, melanoma occurs most frequently on their backs and legs. However, skin cancer occurs in ALL skin colors and on ALL surfaces of the body. Nobody is exempt from the potential of developing skin cancer.
Read this article on Babies After 35 to learn more!
How can it be prevented?
Have your skin checked every 1-2 years by a dermatologist. In addition, use these skin cancer prevention strategies:
Your best defense-applying sunscreen daily, even if it’s cloudy!
Use at least SPF 30 for everyday usage, and SPF 50 for outdoor usage or for daily usage if there is a history of melasma. To learn more about treatment and prevention, read this article on Babies After 35.
Here are a few of the top SPF products recommended by the Babies After 35 community:
We are just at the beginning of sleeveless shirts, shorts, and swimsuit weather so be sure to stock up on sunscreen and use it everyday. Go with sunless tanner instead of tanning beds. Wear hats, sunglasses and rash guards.
Help you and your family be safe now and in the future by protecting skin today!
Shannon M. Clark, MD, MMS is a double board certified ObGyn and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist, and founder of Babies After 35. In her roles as a clinician, educator and researcher at UTMB-Galveston, she focuses on the care of people with maternal and/or fetal complications of pregnancy. Dr. Clark has taken a special interest in pregnancy after the age of 35, which according to age alone, is considered a high-risk pregnancy.
Check out the products for TTC through parenthood in the Babies After 35 Amazon shop, online courses and other services that come "Dr. Clark-approved"!Check out my favorite things