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Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention

EHS Team

May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. Skin cancer is one of the more preventable cancers and we should all be aware of the risk factors and prevention goals. It is useful for all of us to perform regular skin checks for moles (raised or flat) with concerning features. A ‘changing mole’ is the most concerning characteristic, therefore, it is wise to have an idea what and where your moles are currently. Remember, one in 5 Americans and one in 3 Caucasians will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime, 90% of which is attributable to sun exposure. Click here for a summary of self-exams and the things to look for (“A,B,C,D,E” of skin cancer).

There has been recent controversy regarding ingredients of sunscreens and their safety. Ongoing research is investigating this at many levels. Until then, it is still safest to always use a sunscreen as there is a very real cancer risk from ultraviolet light. We recommend sunscreens with both UVA and UVB protection, try for titanium dioxide or zinc oxide screens (although oxybenzone, sulisobenzone, avobenzone have recently been reviewed and found safe for topical use), avoid added fragrances or preservatives as these may be irritants, and use no less than SPF 30.

Some further information about sunscreens can be found at the AAD website: Sunscreens/Sunblocks, the CDC website: Skin Cancer Questions and Answers, and the Mayo Clinic website: Sunscreen (what to look for).

The below excerpt discusses very high risk and high risk patients. Reviewing the criteria may be useful:



Very high risk of skin cancer
Individuals with any of the following risk factors have a very high risk of skin cancer (approximately 10 or more times the risk of the general population): Individuals at very high risk should be identified by their primary health care provider and offered total body skin examination by a dermatologist or a trained health care provider on a yearly basis. They should also be counselled about skin self-examination and skin cancer prevention by a health care provider. In case of childhood cancer survivors, the site of radiation therapy should be monitored.

High risk of skin cancer
Individuals with two or more of the main identified susceptibility factors are at a high risk for skin cancer (roughly 5 times the risk of the general population): Other factors that may influence the risk of skin cancers that are environmental include an outdoor occupation, a childhood spent at less than latitude 35°, the use of tanning beds during teens and twenties, and radiation therapy as an adult.

Individuals at high risk should be identified by their primary health care provider and counseled about skin self-examination (specifically focused on the site of radiation for those having had therapeutic radiation) and skin cancer prevention by a health care provider. High-risk individuals should be seen once a year by a health care provider trained in screening for skin cancers.



If you have any concerning spots, your Executive Healthcare Services physicians are available to evaluate and discuss the best course of action. We encourage a yearly physical exam for all clients which is also a good time to review your risks and check for concerning skin changes.

Yours in health,
EHS Team


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