All three types of skin cancer share common risk factors. People who have the following traits or experiences are at greater risk:
The National Cancer Institute recommends the following ways to protect skin from the sun and help prevent skin cancer from occurring:
- Avoid "peak" sunlight hours - 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Seek shade whenever possible.
- Wear protective clothing including wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, long-sleeved shirts and pants during prolonged sun exposure.
- Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher, 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors. Reapply every two hours.
- Have skin checked once a year by a dermatologist.
Signs and Symptoms
The most common warning sign of skin cancer is a change on the skin - especially a new growth or a sore that doesn't heal. In addition, moles with the following characteristics should be checked immediately:
- Asymmetry - on one half does not match the other half
- Border irregularity - edges are ragged, notched or blurred
- Color - color is not the same throughout
- Diameter of mole is wider than six millimeters (about the size of a pencil eraser) or is growing
For more information on skin cancer prevention, contact the Norton Cancer Institute Prevention & Early Detection Program at 1-800-555-6772 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. A health care professional will research and respond to your question within 48-hours. Exceptions may include weekends and holidays.