May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month: How to protect yourself this summer

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(MARVIN RECINOS/AFP via Getty Images)

(WHTM) — As school starts to let out for the year and travel is bustling again, that means it’s time for summer. But, doctors are reminding Pennsylvanians to practice sun safety.

With May being Skin Cancer Awareness month and Memorial Day on the horizon, it’s more important than ever to keep you and your family safe from harmful UV rays through easy practices.

Experts from Patient First remind everyone to follow these steps:

  1. Always, no matter how little time you spend outside, wear sunscreen. Doctors recommend a minimum of 30 SPF for best protection, even when it’s cloudy.
  2. Wide-brimmed hats help shade from the sun, but do not completely prevent sunburn. Put on sunscreen in all exposed areas.
  3. Wear lightweight and sun-protecting clothes.
  4. Wear sunglasses to keep eyes safe from damage.

Penn State Health says skin cancer symptoms may vary, but that any new or changing spots on the skin that appear for more than two weeks should be brought to a medical professional. They say to look for the following:

  1. New spot that changes size, shape, or color
  2. Itchy or painful spot
  3. Sore that won’t heal and bleeds/scabs over
  4. Thick, raised, or rough skin that spreads
  5. Dark lesions
  6. Red, shiny bump
  7. Scaly spot that can be felt
  8. Growth with raised border and central crust
  9. Wart-like growth
  10. Irregular or indistinct borders

The Skin Cancer Foundation says skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S., and early detection can increase the 5-year survival to 99%.

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