Skin Cancer Prevention Important at Every Age

Take steps now to detect and prevent skin cancer.

by Dianna Malkowski, Physician Assistant & Nutritionist

The American Academy of Dermatology recognizes May as Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. Because rates increase with age, it’s important to take steps now to detect and prevent skin cancer.

It’s an ideal time to remind people of all ages that skin cancer can be prevented, and often even cured if found and treated early. Join us in taking action to prevent skin cancer and reduce the risk of UV damage. Here are four ways to protect skin as we head into spring and summer:
  • Avoiding sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Those who must be outside should stay in the shade, especially the elderly who are at greater risk for heat-related illness.
  • Liberally applying broad-spectrum sunscreen and lip balm with a sun protection factor of 30 or higher at least 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours, even on overcast days.
  • Shading head, face, ears and neck with a wide-brim hat and sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB protection.
  • Check skin regularly for changes. Look for any growths or changes to skin, especially in the size or color of a mole. Any spread of pigmentation, scaling or bleeding, or tenderness or pain should be reported to your doctor. If you are fair and have a family history of melanoma, your risk for skin cancer is even greater.

In addition to sun protection, seniors managing incontinence should take extra steps to gently cleanse and protect skin against rashes, infections and ulcers, using products formulated for aging, injury-prone skin.

Dianna Malkowski is a Board Certified Physician Assistant and Mayo Clinic trained nutritionist specializing in diabetes, cancer, wound healing, therapeutic diets and nutrition support. She serves on the board of professional advisers for The CareGiver Partnership and enjoys working with patients and caregivers alike. Ask Dianna a question.

Watch this video on how to care for skin while managing incontinence.


Stephen Knows Cancer said...

Thanks for sharing this information! Obviously, this is a very important public health awareness event! While the members of older generations may have grown up oblivious to the dangers of prolonged exposure to UV rays, we really can't use that as an excuse not to take precautions anymore. As someone who lives in a place that gets a fair share of sun, I try and keep this in mind year round, especially since I have family members who have developed skin cancer in the past.

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