Your skin is your body’s largest organ, and no matter where you live (sunny or not), you should aim to reduce your risk of skin cancer. Checking your body for warning signs is important – studies show that people who regularly inspect their skin can reduce their risk of melanoma by as much as 63 percent. During your self-examination:
- Note any changes in freckles or moles or any new bumps or nodules.
- Look for moles or freckles with irregular borders, mixed colors (especially black), signs of inflammation (redness) or pallor, and any increase in their size.
- Pay attention to moles or freckles that are bigger than the size of a pencil eraser, fail to heal after a minor injury, or are scabby or scaly.
If you notice any of the above, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist – he or she will determine if treatment is necessary. In addition, you can help to prevent melanoma by protecting yourself from the sun (especially important if you are planning a vacation somewhere sunny) with hats, sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, sunglasses that block at least 99% of UVA and UVB rays, and UV-protective clothing.
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