Summer is here, and every self respecting Texan ought to know a little about how to handle the sun. Sunburns are not only painful, but the damage is cumulative over a lifetime, increasing your risk of skin cancer as you age. Despite increased awareness of skin cancer, the number of cases have risen dramatically over the last ten years.
Signs and Symptoms: Redness and pain can begin as little as fifteen minutes on unprotected skin, depending on your complexion. Moles that develop a blue or black pigment, irregular border, or an ulcerated center are suspicious for cancer.
What to do: Consult your doctor for any suspicious lesions. Prevention is so easy that it's almost unforgivable to skip it. Despite the hype (and expense), any sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 or higher will help. Apply thirty minutes before exposure, and reapply every two hours. Special clothing is available, and hats are great, too. But nothing beats the shade.
Thought for the day: Skin cancer will be a major concern long after you've forgotten the burn.
"What's Going Around is contributed by Family Practice Doctor Kyle Scarborough. You can reach him at www.familylifemedical.com
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