It should come as no big surprise that simply living in Florida puts you at an increased risk for skin cancer. The reason for this is simple: The biggest cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV light) from the sun. There’s a reason that Florida is called “the Sunshine State,” and while our famously sunny weather makes for great vacations and idyllic days spent lounging poolside, it’s not without its risks. That’s why regular skin cancer screenings are imperative for Florida residents.
Who Needs to Be Screened for Skin Cancer? You!
While some groups of people are at greater risk for developing skin cancer than others, it is still important to get checked regularly by a dermatologist. While skin cancer is the most common type of cancer, and it can definitely be fatal, it is often treatable when caught early on, resulting in a high survivorship rate. The key is getting the disease out of your body before it gets to your lymph nodes or other organs.
Individuals who have fair skin, light-colored eyes, blonde or red hair, or skin that burns or freckles easily need to be especially aware of their risk. Also, those who have had numerous sunburns throughout their lives, spend a great deal of time outdoors, or have a family history of skin cancer are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer.
No matter what your level of risk is, we recommend having a skin cancer screening performed annually, at the very least. If you are in a high-risk group, you should consider being screened more than once a year. Skin cancer screenings are very easy and noninvasive. A dermatologist simply does a thorough visual examination. Having this procedure performed regularly will allow the doctor to notice any changes in moles, birthmarks, or other anomalies that could indicate cancerous growth.
An easy way to check yourself for suspicious skin growth is to remember “ABCD.”
- Asymmetry: If one half of the growth is not like the other half.
- Borders: Poorly defined or irregular borders.
- Color: Variation in color.
- Diameter: 6mm or larger (size of a pencil eraser).
- Evolution: Changing in size, color, or shape.