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Protecting your family during Skin Cancer Awareness month

Posted: 4:58 AM, May 20, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-20 07:33:56-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- If you didn't know, May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month .  Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the world.

There are three main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.

Dr. Paul Wright, is the chief of cutaneous oncology for Spectrum Health who offered us some tips on how to protect your family from harmful UV Rays.

He says the best way to find skin cancer in its earliest and most treatable stage is by checking your skin regularly and having a dermatologist perform a focused skin cancer screening.

Tips:

  • Wear sunscreen – at least SPF 30 -  when outside at any time, year-round. Use enough—a full ounce—to get the full result.
  • Wear hats and other skin-protecting clothing, particularly a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and the back of your neck.
  • Educate yourself on skin cancer and do self-skin examinations and know what to look for.
  • Avoid sunburns by not staying out in the sun for extended lengths of time.
  • Know your family history and risk for skin cancer. People with fair skin and moles are at higher risk.
  • Avoid all tanning beds and artificial tanning equipment.

Dr. Wright also says Spectrum Health saw a record number of people during this most recent free skin cancer screening event held in West Michigan. Here are the results from that:

6 locations

Number of Patients Seen

Number Referred for Biopsy

Percent Referred for Biopsy

Number Referred for Additional follow-Up (including  biopsy)

Percent Referred for Additional Follow-Up

BCC SCC Identified

Melanoma Identified

Total 523 116 22% 216 41% 74 9