Avoiding and checking for skin cancer as weather warms up

Avoiding and checking for skin cancer as weather warms up

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Across the nation, skin cancer is the most common from of cancer, affecting 1 in 5 American's across the nation.

So, as the weather warms up, one local dermatologist is warning of the importance of sun screen before you head outside.

Doctor Jeffrey Brackeen, owner of Advanced Dermatology & Skin Cancer Institute, says, "we know that the UV rays from the sun are carcinogenic, we know that they age the skin, we know that sunscreen stops that....There isn't something better you can do for your skin, aside from limit your sun exposure, to protect yourself when you're out, aside from wearing that clothes, and making sure your sunscreen is on."

He adds that your sun screen should always be applied 30 minutes before you go out. He recommends anything above 30 SPF and to make sure that it is UVA/UVB to keep yourself protected. Dr. Brackeen adds that, if you're using a spray, on average you should use about 1 ounce of sunscreen to cover your body, and most sunscreens expire after 3 years.

He also adds that sunscreen is the number one way to protect ourselves, and it's necessary to put it on, even when you're not spending a lot of time outside. Saying that our phones are also adding to our skin problems.

"In the olden days we used to use the reflectors and to bounce the sun and to give ourselves more UV rays to darken our tan, that's basically what your cell phones or your iPads or your electronic devices, or your kindle, or whatever do," he says. "They reflect the sun back at you so you're not just getting it from above, you're getting it from down below. And iPhones reflect about 33% more sun, so you have much more and iPads are 50% more."

Dr, Brackeen says that everyone over 30 should get tested once a year, however you should always be testing yourself at home as well.

He says the best time to check is after a shower. This way you already have a lot of mirrors, and can feel around your scalp. He says to have a friend check your back and hard to see sports, and to take pictures so you can compare spots. Also, don't forget to look in your armpits, bottoms of your feet, and in all cracks and crevices. Keep an eye out for sports that change in size, and color, are asymmetrical, and are different from the rest.

But above all, if you suspect something or are nervous, always come in for a checkup, it's better safe than sorry.

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