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Fun - And Safety - In The Sun

With Memorial Day weekend kicking off the summer season, Americans are pursuing "fun in the sun" amid reports of the rising incidence of skin cancer and talk of global warming.

Dr. Barney Kenet, a dermatologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital and the author of Saving Your Skin shares advice on how to fight against skin cancer.

Primary Prevention:

  • Wear sunblock and protective clothing. Reapply sunblock frequently, at least every few hours, using block witrh a minimum SPF of 15. If possible, wear SPF-protective clothing. (If light can filter through clothes, so can harmful rays!)
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat, and UVA/UVB protective sunglasses.
  • Stay out of the sun during peak hours, 11 am-4 pm.

Secondary Prevention:
  • Have an annual skin check if you are over 40. If you are between the ages of 20 and 40, have your skin examined every three years.
  • Self-Examination: You should see a dermatologist if any of the following are true about a mole you have:

    Asymmetry: One half of the mole does not match the other.

    Border Irregularity: The edges of the mole are ragged or notched.

    Irregular Color: The mole may contain differing shades of tan, brown or black; sometimes, patches of red, blue or white.

    Large Diameter: A mole is wider than 6 mm.

Signs And Symptoms Of Skin Cancer:
  • Any change on the skin, especially in the size or color of a mole or other darkly pigmented growth or spot, or a new growth.
  • Scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or change in the appearance of a bump or nodule.
  • The spread of pigmentation beyond its border such as dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole or mark.
  • A change in sensation of a mole, such as itchiness, tenderness, or pain.

Other Sun Risks: Wrinkles and cataracts

Sun Sensitizing Medications:

Birth control pills and some other medicines, like Retin-A, Paxil, Benadryl, Motrin and even antibiotics, like Cipro, make people more sensitive to the sun.

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