How to Avoid Skin Cancer

Feb 15, 2021 / Dermatology

Learning the warning signs of melanoma could save your life! If you have a mole or pigmented area of the skin that shows any of the four melanoma warning signs below you need to be checked by a doctor immediately. Always have any suspicious growth, mole, sore or skin discoloration checked by your doctor.

A for asymmetry: One half does not match the other half.


B for border irregularity: An irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border.


C for color: Varied from one area to another. Often shades of tan and brown, or black; sometimes white, red or blue.


D for diameter: If the mole is greater than 6mm (about the size of a pea) then there is a greater chance it is melanoma.


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5 Ways to Avoid Skin Cancer

You can greatly reduce your chances of getting skin cancer by following these 5 simple guidelines:

  • Try to avoid sun exposure between 10am and 4pm when the rays are strongest.
  • Apply sunscreen that is SPF-30 or higher approximately 30 minutes before sun exposure. Make sure your sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays.
  • When outdoors, reapply sunscreen every two hours – even on cloudy days. Always reapply after swimming or perspiring.
  • Make sure to wear a hat with a brim to protect the face and ears and clothing that protects against the sun when outside. Wearing sunglasses will help protect your eyes
  • Avoid tanning salons. “Sunless” tanning lotions are the only safe way to receive a tan.
How to Avoid Skin Cancer

About Thomas Rosenfeld, MD, Chief of Dermatology

Dr. Thomas Rosenfeld was always interested in science as a child, so it’s no surprise that he decided to go into medicine. Before his undergraduate years, he worked in a hospital emergency room to get an idea of what aspect of medicine interested him most. It was during his medical school education that he decided on dermatology. He was on morning rounds, in 3rd year, at the VCU hospital when a woman was being treated for blood...

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