The Importance of Skin Cancer Prevention

Detecting skin cancer as early as possible is the key to increasing the likelihood of successful treatment. It is for this reason that Doctors Gary and Kristina Goldenberg always stress to their patients the importance of being informed of the signs and symptoms associated with the disease. It’s recommended that all adults have a full skin examination once yearly. Patients at high risk, or those with a history of skin cancer or dysplastic nevi (abnormal moles), need even more frequent visits. Regularly checking yourself for skin cancer through an at-home screening is also important. While everyone should screen themselves regularly, there are some individuals who have an increased risk of getting skin cancer and should, therefore, screen themselves more frequently.

Skin Cancer – Who is at a Higher Risk?

Though skin cancer sometimes develops spontaneously, there are several risk factors that can increase one’s chances of developing the condition. These risk factors include:

  • Increased exposure to the sun. People with a history of sun exposure, and especially sunburn before the age of 18, are at higher risk. Also, people who tan (natural or tanning bed) and those that enjoy the outdoors (without UV protection) put themselves at an increased risk of developing skin cancer.
  • The use of tanning beds. Use of tanning beds have been proven to increase the risk of skin cancer and melanoma, especially in younger patients.
  • People with light skin/blue/green eyes or blond/red hair have been statistically shown to be at a greater risk.
  • A genetic disposition. If skin cancer runs in your family, you are more likely to have the disease.

Our doctors know firsthand that being aware of these risk factors can potentially be the difference between life and death. They cannot stress enough the importance of applying a protective layer of sunscreen every morning, even on cloudy days and even in the wintertime. The sun’s harmful UV rays do not magically disappear just because you cannot see them.

Reviewed by Dr. Goldenberg