Growing up, my friends and I never had a second thought about spending hours of time in the sun. Even as a small child, I can’t really remember a time when my parents put sunscreen on me before I ventured out for a day of play. Hours spent by the pool, trips to the beach, and outdoor bike rides and picnics were everyday life. Too bad without proper protection all those things can wreak havoc on the skin. Now that I’m an adult, I still like to enjoy my time by the pool and days at the beach, but I’m much smarter about protecting my skin. Skin cancer isn’t something to joke about or ignore. One in five Americans will get skin cancer at some point during their lifetime. As I’ve aged, I realize that my skin is precious and so is my health. Skin cancer could keep me from doing the things I love, and I know I’m at an increased risk due to all the sun exposure I had growing up. That’s why I make an effort to routinely check myself for the signs of skin cancer and take all the precautions I can to prevent it. The American Academy of Dermatology’s (AAD’s) SPOT Skin Cancer™ campaign has made it easier to learn more about skin cancer prevention and detection.
AAD’s “Looking Good in 2016” Campaign Has Me Taking a Good Look at My Skin
To me, keeping my skin healthy is one of the most important things I can do. Every day it’s estimated that 8,500 people are diagnosed with skin cancer. I would like to avoid being a part of this statistic. I have taken the pledge to perform regular at-home skin self-exams, and if I notice any new or suspicious spots on my skin, I will make sure to see a dermatologist right away.
The AAD’s “Looking Good in 2016” campaign comes at just the right time with summer around the corner. This campaign is designed to spread awareness about the steps you can take to prevent and detect skin cancer. The AAD is asking people (like myself) to tell them why they think it’s so important to check their skin for the signs of skin cancer and make sure their skin is “Looking Good.” I want to be able to live a long life for my family, pass along healthy habits to my children, and continue to spend time in the sun without worrying about what damage it’s doing to my skin.
The AAD recommends the following tips for protecting your skin from the sun: apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher every two hours, wear protective clothing, and seek shade whenever possible. Even though skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, when spotted early, skin cancer, including melanoma, is highly treatable. Early detection is about performing regular self-exams. If you notice any spots that are different from the others, or anything changing, itching or bleeding on your skin, see a board-certified dermatologist. If you want to learn how to perform a self-exam, click here. Or if you’d like to find a free SPOTme® Skin Cancer Screening in your area, click here. Dermatologists have provided more than two million free skin cancer screenings in the past 30 years and have detected more than 28,000 suspected melanomas.
Men over 50, like my dad and older brothers, have a higher risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, than the general population. The AAD’s new “Looking Good” PSA uses humor to encourage men to check their skin for the signs of skin cancer and get a partner to help. So, next time you’re in front of the mirror, take a good look at your skin.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of American Academy of Dermatology. The opinions and text are all mine.