Protect Yourself – Skin Cancer Awareness Month

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, over 5 million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year.  It’s important to know the types of skin cancers and how to protect yourself and those you love.

Types of Skin Cancer

  • Non-melanoma -This type of cancer is described as any type of skin cancer that isn’t melanoma.  This can include basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.  These types of cancers are malignant but usually do not spread to other areas of the body.
  • Melanoma- This skin cancer is aggressive and can spread to other parts of the body.  If left untreated or not treated early, the results could be fatal.

Skin Cancer Risks

While anyone can get skin cancer, according to the CDC, these people are at a higher risk level:

  • Fair-skinned individuals
  • Those with red or blonde hair
  • People with skin that burns easily
  • Those with a family history of skin cancer
  • Numerous moles that cover the body
  • Those that use tanning beds
  • People that are exposed to UV rays without protection

Protecting Your Family

Protection from skin cancer needs to be across the board, regardless of age.  Check out these tips to protect your family members no matter how old they are.

Infants and toddlers

  • Use a sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB rays (recommended for babies over 6 months)
  • Wear a protective hat and clothing


  • Stay in the shade when sun exposure is the highest, usually around midday
  • Wear sunglasses, sunscreen, hats and protective clothing


  • Wear long-sleeve shirts and pants
  • Always wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days


  • Wear wide-brimmed hats
  • Reapply sunscreen regularly

Treating Sunburn

Sunburn can hurt.  Not only that, but it can raise your risk to develop skin cancer.  In order to get some relief from the pain, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using cool compresses and moisturizing lotions (but not petroleum or oil-based ointments) to help ease your distress.  Drinking plenty of water and taking over-the-counter ibuprofen or aspirin will help replenish fluids and relieve any swelling.

It’s important to understand the risk factors for developing skin cancer and do what you can to keep yourself safe.  Be sure to talk with your doctor about skin checks and make an appointment for a screening today.