The best way to prevent skin cancer is to protect your skin from the sun.
- Stay in the shade as much as possible between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
- Cover up with long sleeves, a hat, and sunglasses.
Why do I need to protect my skin from the sun?
Protecting your skin from the sun today may help prevent skin cancer later in life. Most skin cancer appears after age 50, but skin damage from the sun can start during childhood.
Staying out of the sun and using sunscreen may also help prevent:
- Blotches or spots on your skin
- Other damage caused by the sun
What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer is the most common kind of cancer in the United States. There are 3 major types of skin cancer:
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the 2 most common kinds of skin cancer. They are both also called non-melanoma skin cancer. The most dangerous kind of skin cancer is called melanoma.
Skin cancer can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early. That’s why it’s a good idea to check your skin every month for new growths (like moles or lumps) or changes in old growths. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you find a change.
Visit these Web sites to learn more about skin cancer:
What causes skin cancer?
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer. UV radiation can also come from tanning booths or sunlamps.
Anyone can get skin cancer. The risk is highest for people with:
- White or light-colored skin with freckles
- Blond or red hair
- Blue or green eyes
You are at higher risk for the most dangerous type of skin cancer (melanoma) if you have:
- Unusual moles
- A large number of moles (more than 50)
- A family history of melanoma
Get more information about things that could increase your risk for skin cancer. Talk with your doctor or nurse.