As July comes to a close, folks around Johnson City are taking advantage of the last few weeks of summer. Everyone enjoys days spent by the pool or lake, outdoor adventures, and last-minute trips to the beach. And playing in the sun is a great way to boost your vitamin D and have fun with the people you love. But exposure to UV rays also increases your risk of skin cancer. Do you know the signs of melanoma? Early detection through self-examination is the key to catching skin cancer while it’s still curable.

Melanoma Protection

You don’t have to stay indoors to protect yourself from skin cancer. Follow these tips from the Skin Cancer Foundation to reduce your risk of melanoma.

  • woman wearing sunscreenWear SPF of 15 or higher anytime you go outside
  • Use broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays
  • Don’t let your skin burn
  • Never tan or visit tanning beds
  • Apply 1 ounce of sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going outside
  • Cover up with protective clothing and sunglasses
  • Sit in the shade during the hottest part of the day
  • Do a self-exam monthly and schedule an annual skin exam with a physician

How to Detect Melanoma

Atypical moles are the primary sign of melanoma. When performing your self-exam, look for:

  • Asymmetrical moles
  • Moles with an uneven border or scalloped edges
  • Multiple colors in the same mole
  • Moles the size of a pencil eraser or larger
  • Moles that change shape, size, or color

Protect your skin this summer. If you find a mole that matches the warning signs of melanoma, make an appointment with a physician. For more information about detecting and treating skin cancer, call Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.