At Superior Foot & Ankle Care Center we know that our Los Angeles County patients enjoy the sun nearly year-round, but May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and a good time to emphasize the importance of protecting your skin from the harmful effects of UV rays.
Research shows that currently one in five people will develop some form of skin cancer by the age of 70. In fact, there are more cases of skin cancer diagnosed each year than all other cancers combined. But skin cancer is also highly treatable and has a very high rate of survival when detected early. Below are steps you can take to lower your risk for this potentially deadly disease.
Be on the Lookout—one big advantage of skin cancer over other carcinomas is that you can see it. Commit to inspecting the skin on your feet and the rest of your body monthly. The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests that you lookout for:
- New—blemishes, freckles or moles that have appeared that weren’t present before
- Changing—growing larger, losing their borders, becoming mottled or containing new colors could all signal a potential cancer
- Unusual—any mark on your skin that bleeds, crusts over or is itchy or sore for more than three weeks
When it comes to your feet, be sure to look at the tops and the soles of your feet and between each toe. Look for spots on your nails or in the skin under the nail as well. If you see anything you’re concerned about, contact our Long Beach office at (562) 420-9800 to schedule an appointment with our podiatrists, Dr. Victoria M. Foley and Dr. Constance Ornelas, promptly.
Take Cover—seek shade during the hottest hours of 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. If you spend a large amount of time in the sun or are extra fair, freckled or have other issues that increase your risk for skin cancer consider shirts, hats and other clothing made with UPF (ultraviolet protection factor).
Be Generous with the Sunscreen—many patients often skip their feet when applying sunscreen but it’s just as essential there as any exposed skin. And not just when you are at the beach or pool. If you’re wearing open sandals for a day of shopping or running errands be sure to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher about 30 minutes before going out. If you’re playing sports or swimming, choose a water-resistant variety and reapply after coming out of the water or every two hours.
Say No to Tanning Beds—these increase your risk for all types of skin cancer including dangerous melanomas by up to 75%. Even one time can increase your risk. Don’t let teens use tanning beds ever.
You can decrease your risk of skin cancer. If you have any questions about this disease and your feet, don’t hesitate to contact us.