Skin Cancer Prevention and Detection Tips


Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States today. This is why it is so important for every person to know about skin prevention and detection so they can stay on top of this condition. Here’s what every person should know about skin cancer.

What Is Skin Cancer?

 Skin cancer is an uncontrollable, unorderly growth of skin cells. These abnormal cells can present themselves as moles on the skin, red bumps, lesions, or even tiny marks. Not all skin cancer looks the same and many times, people don’t even notice that a small mark on their skin is actually an early sign of skin cancer.

Skin cancer is a common type of cancer that approximately one in five Americans will likely deal with in their life. Skin cancer is typically caused by overexposure to ultraviolet or UV rays from the sun or sun beds.

When UV rays damage the skin cells, they can cause exterior burns, but over time, this damage can add up and lead to changes in the skin. This includes changes in texture and premature skin aging. It can also lead to skin cancer.

There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.  Since basal cells and squamous cells are so common, they are sometimes called “non-melanoma skin cancer.” All of these skin cancers are slightly different in how they present themselves and in their tendency to spread, but they all come from the same source and have the same risk factors associated with them.

Skin Cancer Risk Factors

Certain personal factors may put you at risk for skin cancer. While these factors don’t guarantee that you will get skin cancer, they are important risk factors to be aware of. These factors include:

  • A lighter natural skin color
  • Skin that burns, freckles, reddens easily or becomes painful in the sun.
  • Blue or green eyes.
  • Blond or red hair.
  • Certain types and a large number of moles.
  • A family history of skin cancer.
  • A personal history of skin cancer.
  • Older age.
  • Exposure to UV rays

If you have these risk factors, pay even more attention to the signs and symptoms of skin cancer. However, everyone, even those without these risk factors can ultimately get skin cancer.

Symptoms Of Skin Cancer

The most common sign of skin cancer is a change in your skin. This includes new growths, sores that don’t heal, or a change in a mole.
For melanoma specifically, a simple way to remember the warning signs is to remember the A-B-C-D-Es of melanoma. Luckily, the name is easy to remember, here’s what the ABCDEs stand for.

  • Asymmetrical: Does the mole or spot have an irregular shape with two parts that look very different?
  • Border: Is the border of the mole irregular or jagged?
  • Color: Is the color uneven or does the mole have multiple colors in it?
  • Diameter: Is the mole or spot larger than the size of a pea?
  • Evolving: Has the mole or spot changed during the past few weeks or months?

This is the standard practice for evaluating melanoma cancer. If you notice any of these signs or symptoms with the moles on your body, then you need to visit your dermatologist right away for further evaluation. You should be regularly monitoring your moles to look for these signs.

What Can I Do to Reduce My Risk of Skin Cancer?

Noticing the signs and symptoms of skin cancer is one of the first and most important steps toward early detection and early detection means early treatment which notoriously has better outcomes.

However, you should also be aware of the different things you can be doing to reduce your risk of skin cancer. Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays
UV rays come from the sun, tanning beds, and sunlamps. UV rays can damage skin cells.

With this in mind, the first and most important thing that you can do to lower your risk of getting skin cancer is to protect your skin from UV rays from the sun and avoid artificial sources of UV exposure like tanning beds and sunlamps. If you can’t stay out of the sun completely, then you should make sure you are covering your skin when possible and practicing sun safety whenever you do need to be outdoors.

Practice Sun Safety

You can’t exactly avoid the sun altogether, but you can make sure that you are practicing sun safety so that you aren’t increasing your chances of getting skin damage, and ultimately skin cancer.

  • Stay in the shade
  • Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade your face, head, ears, and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses that wrap around and block both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Use broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher.

Remember, you should always be wearing sunscreen when you are out in the sun, even if it isn’t particularly hot or if you don’t feel as though you will burn. You should also be wearing facial sunscreen every day if possible.

In addition to these smart sun habits, you should also be visiting your dermatologist regularly for full-body skin checks. Your dermatologist will be able to identify potential issues with your skin and may need to biopsy certain moles or growths to make sure they aren’t cancerous.

Avoid Indoor Tanning

You should never be using any type of indoor tanning facility. Indoor tanning (using a tanning bed, booth, sunbed, or sunlamp to darken the skin) exposes users to high levels of UV rays. Even more than the sun. Over time, too much exposure to UV rays can cause skin cancers, cataracts, and cancers of the eye.

Tanning beds are becoming less common as more and more people are realizing the close ties between tanning beds and skin cancer.

When to Visit Urgent Care

If you have experienced a bad sunburn that is so painful it prevents you from your daily activities, or if you have a sunburn so bad that it is blistering—then you may want to visit an Urgent Care facility for treatment. Serious sunburns are rare, but they can do permanent damage to the skin if not treated properly.

If you notice substantial changes in the skin, such as rapidly-progressing moles, new growths, or noticeable changes in texture, then you should visit an Urgent Care if you are not able to get in with your dermatologist right away. If you have a new wound that won’t heal, you should go to Urgent Care to get it examined.

While many people think that skin issues aren’t as serious as other healthcare problems, your skin problems should not be taken lightly as they could be precursors to skin cancer.


If you know that you have major risk factors for skin cancer, or have noticed some of the signs and symptoms of this condition, you should make an appointment with your dermatologist right away. After a full examination, your doctor will look at any suspicious skin lesion and take a biopsy of that lesion to get more insight into what the growth is.

From there, they will be able to tell you if you have skin cancer or not. While skin cancer is unfortunately common in our world today, the good news is, it is a relatively treatable cancer with a good prognosis when it’s caught early. 

Centers Urgent care is here for all your medical needs. Our experienced providers are ready to help. Find a location closest to you here

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