Detection And Prevention

Talk with your patients about these risk factors for skin cancer and how to lower their risk.

Exposure to the sun and its ultraviolet rays is the most common cause of skin cancer. One in five Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Melanoma, which grows and spreads rapidly, is the deadliest form of skin cancer. It’s most curable when detected and treated early. That’s why each May, Premier Health collaborates with the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine's Department of Dermatology to offer free skin cancer screenings at locations throughout the area.

Skin Cancer Screening Tips

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 3,000 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in Ohio this year.

These screening tips can aid in early detection:

  • Perform a monthly head-to-toe self-exam of your skin to evaluate any concerning changes and report them to your doctor.
  • Visit your doctor if you notice a suspicious-looking mole or skin growth, especially, for example, one that bleeds and/or doesn’t heal.
  • Be extra vigilant if you have a family history of melanoma since this type of skin cancer can be hereditary.
  • Schedule an annual full-body skin exam with your doctor to help find skin cancer early.

Skin Cancer Screening Guidelines

Skin cancer may first appear as a new mole, a change in a growth or mole, a sore that doesn't heal, or an irritation of the skin.

Your first defense against skin cancer is awareness. Be familiar with your skin and notice changes that could indicate a problem. A good way to remember is with these ABCDEs of early detection:

  • A = Asymmetry. Part of the mole does not match the other part.
  • B = Border. The borders of the mole are irregular, ragged, blurred, or notched.
  • C = Color. The color of the mole is not the same throughout. There may be varying shades of tan, brown, black red, blue, or white.
  • D = Diameter. Melanoma is usually larger than 6mm when diagnosed, but can be smaller.
  • E = Evolving. The mole or spot on the skin looks different from the rest or is changing in size, shape, or color. 

Who’s At Risk For Skin Cancer? 

People with fair skin, especially those with blonde or red hair, freckles, more than 50 moles, blue eyes, or albinism are more likely to develop skin cancer.

You also may be at higher risk for developing skin cancer if:

  • You’ve had one or more blistering sunburns
  • You’ve made frequent trips to the tanning salon
  • You have a close family member with melanoma

If you’re concerned about your risk for skin cancer, talk to your doctor about a screening approach that works best for you. You may need a full-body skin exam more often if you have additional risk factors.

Lower Your Skin Cancer Risk

Sun exposure is the only modifiable risk factor. You can lower your risk of getting skin cancer by protecting your skin:

  • Stay in the shade when possible
  • Use sunscreen
  • Stay out of the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Avoid sun burns
  • Don’t use tanning beds

Is there a safe way to tan? Does sunscreen become ineffective as it ages? Improve your knowledge with these skin cancer prevention FAQs.

Contact Us

Premier Health offers an extensive network of experienced cancer specialists, close to home, who welcome your referrals. Find a cancer specialist best suited to your patient’s unique needs.