Why people with skin of color need to worry about skin cancer: Part 2

On Tuesday, I discussed why it’s important to recognize that if you have colored skin, you shouldn’t dismiss the idea that you can be at risk for skin cancers. Today, we’re talking about the steps you can take to stay aware, be protected and most importantly: preventative. Here are 7 things you should know:

  1. Check your skin regularly. Always be on the lookout for new bumps or marks – even blush or red coloured bumps can be indicators of other skin cancers aside from melanoma. And don’t forget to check your back, or have someone do so for you.
  2. Have an annual skin exam. Just in case you didn’t manage to take a close look at all your skin, it’s always best to have a professional to do it for you – we want to be sure to have it all covered.
  3. Pay attention to the skin on your feet and in between your toes. These are very easy areas to neglect! Be on the lookout.
  4. Follow the ABCDE’s of melanoma. Asymmetry, Borders (skin that juts out), Color, Diameter, Evolving (is the bump or mark growing?). Ask your doctor about this if you’re interested in learning more!
  5. Age is important, too. Most people assume that cancers develop when you’re older, but skin cancers can start forming as early as your 20s – so don’t think you’re not at risk because you’re young.
  6. Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. You should be wearing sunscreen daily that’s at least SPF 30. In addition, wear appropriate protective clothing and avoid direct sunlight when you can.
  7. Consider taking Vitamin D supplements. Darker skinned patients tend to have lower levels of Vitamin D, so talk to your dermatologist about taking the appropriate supplementation.

Above all, your awareness is the most important tool you can arm yourself with against skin cancer. I hope you’ll consider taking these steps, and I highly encourage you to have a conversation with a dermatologist to continue educating yourself about melanoma and skin cancer in general. Stay protected!

Source: Dermatological Times

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