Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States. Estimates show that 9,500 Americans get diagnosed with skin cancer every day.
As advocates of prevention, our team at Colorado Skin Care wants you to be aware of the risk factors for developing skin cancer. Read on to find out if you may benefit from regular skin cancer screenings.
Exposure to tanning beds and excess sunbathing
If you often go for a golden tan during the summer or use tanning beds all year long, you may be surprised to find out that sunscreen alone doesn’t provide enough protection against skin cancer.
For decades, we’ve been told that using sunscreen is the single best way to prevent skin cancer, but the scientific evidence behind these claims is far more nuanced than you may think.
An overview of the role of sunscreen in preventing skin cancer suggests that only four prospective studies look at whether sunscreen can protect against skin cancer, and none of these studies found that sunscreen can lower the risk of skin cancer in healthy individuals.
Also, a clinical trial that looked at the safety of using sunscreen daily found that some of the active ingredients in sunscreen can enter the bloodstream and cause complications, including a higher risk for developing system carcinogenicity.
So if you do use tanning beds, have suffered from blisters in the past due to sunbathing, and have very light skin, you shouldn’t skip a consultation with a dermatologist, even if you use sunscreen regularly.
Also, there’s some evidence that suggests that exposure to the sun when the UV index is low promotes vitamin D absorption, increasing your body’s defense mechanism against cancer cells.
Changing moles and a family history of skin cancer
Having a family history of skin cancer is a risk factor for developing basal cell carcinoma. Also, growing or changing moles can be a sign that you need to see a specialist to determine whether the changes are normal.
Keep in mind that moles do change in appearance over time. They may flatten, increase in size, or disappear altogether. However, moles become problematic when the borders of the mole become irregular, and their color changes to black or red.
How often should you get a skin cancer screening?
Anyone can benefit from an annual screening for skin cancer. However, those in the high-risk group may need to schedule more visits per year to check for changes in the appearance of their skin.
If you’re worried about your skin health or aren’t sure whether you’re in the high-risk group, contact us to schedule an appointment and get peace of mind regarding your skin health.