More people develop skin cancer than any other type. Skin cancer is so common, in fact, that one in five people in the United States will develop it by age 70. And, sadly, more than two people die of the disease every hour.
While those statistics can seem daunting, there’s hope to be had. By understanding your personal risk factors for skin cancer and taking smart precautions, you can guard against the disease and its most severe complications.
At the practice of Ali Hendi, MD, in Chevy Chase, Maryland, Dr. Hendi and our team of skin cancer specialists diagnose, treat, and screen for all types of skin cancer.
Take a few moments to learn about your own skin cancer risks, including what you can do to manage them.
Signs you’re at risk for skin cancer
If you’re a living, breathing human being, you hold some amount of risk for skin cancer. That said, you may be at a heightened risk if you have:
- Blond or red hair
- Family history of skin cancer
- History of sunbathing, tanning, or unprotected sun exposure
- History of sunburns
- Naturally light-colored skin
- Personal history of skin cancer
- Skin that burns or freckles easily
Your risk for skin cancer also increases with age, especially for men. Most people who develop the most serious form of skin cancer, known as melanoma, are white men over age 55.
What to do about your skin cancer risks
Some skin cancer risk factors, such as family history and hair or skin color, are beyond your control. Even so, there’s a lot you can do to lower your overall risk through healthy practices and lifestyle habits.
To lower your risk for skin cancer, aim to:
- Avoid tanning and tanning beds
- Cover up outdoors with sun-protective clothing
- Use a broad-spectrum, SPF 15 or higher sunscreen daily
- Use a stronger sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher, during lengthy outdoor activities
- Seek out shade when you’re outdoors, especially 10am-4pm
- See your dermatologist at least annually for skin cancer surveillance
You can also take note of and address any early signs of skin cancer, which can significantly raise your odds of a full recovery. Even melanoma has a high survival rate if it’s detected early.
If you notice an unusual mole, such as one that’s bleeding, changing size or color, or that has jagged edges, come into our office. If it turns out that you have precancerous cells, we can remove them to prevent you from getting skin cancer in the first place.
To learn more about skin cancer risk factors or to get care, call 301-812-4591 or book an appointment online with the practice of Ali Hendi, MD, today.