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Simple steps can help reduce your risk for developing skin cancer in the future

Picture of the sun

The sun gets stronger every day as we head toward summer, and people are spending more time out in that bright sunshine. 

Heavy sun exposure increases your risk of one day developing melanoma, or skin cancer. 

"Melanoma doesn't discriminate, but it poses a higher risk to individuals with lighter or less pigmented skin," comments Patrick Kehoe, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Aspirus. "The most avoidable risk factor is long-term, cumulative exposure to sunlight. Ultraviolet light exposure, from sunlight or more hazardously from tanning beds, can induce cell mutations leading to melanoma." 

For early melanoma detection and to safeguard yourself and your loved ones, remember the ABCDE guide:

  • A stands for Asymmetry – Where the two halves of the mole do not match.
  • B is for Border – Noting moles with uneven, fuzzy, or notched borders.
  • C refers to Color – Highlighting moles that contain several hues or shades, with the presence of grey, black, blue, or white being particularly alarming.
  • D denotes Diameter – Signaling moles larger than the size of a pencil eraser.
  • E stands for Evolution – Indicating any change in the mole's appearance over time.

While sunscreen needs to be re-applied, hats and long sleeves can provide all day protection.
The American Cancer Society highlights melanoma's danger due to its potential for quick spread to other body areas.

Depending on the melanoma type, this spread can occur in a matter of weeks or over many years.

Skin cancer, when identified early, is highly treatable. 

May is skin cancer awareness month.

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