Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. The most dangerous type of skin cancer, melanoma, causes most skin cancer deaths.
It is important to know how to protect yourself from skin cancer. Prevention and early detection are the best ways to keep skin cancer from harming you.
The top risk factor for most types of skin cancer is ultraviolet (UV) ray exposure. Sources of UV rays include sunlight and indoor tanning. UV rays can cause abnormal skin cell growth, which leads to skin cancer. People who get a lot of UV exposure have a greater risk of skin cancer.
You also may be more at risk for skin cancer if you have:
Here are some tips to lower your risk of skin cancer by avoiding harmful UV rays:
A skin cancer screening is a simple visual check that can be done by your health care provider. Talk to your provider about your risk for skin cancer and what they recommend for you.
A mole on your body can be a warning sign of melanoma. The following ABCDE rule can help you know more about the warning signs of melanoma:
Not all melanomas will have all of these characteristics. In general, if you notice any changes in your skin, discuss them with your health care provider.
If you do not have insurance, you may be eligible to sign up for low- or no-cost coverage. You can also get free in-person assistance signing up for a plan.