Lifestyle Changes to Manage Melanoma
Protecting your skin and checking it for changes are keys to preventing another melanoma or catching one in an early, treatable stage.
General Guidelines for Preventing Melanoma
Avoid Exposure to the Sun
Exposure to ultraviolet rays produced by the sun increases your risk of melanoma. Here’s how to protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays:
- Cover your skin with clothing, including a shirt and a hat with a broad brim.
- When outside, try to sit in shady areas.
- Avoid exposing your skin to the sun between 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. standard time or 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. daylight saving time.
- Use sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or more on skin that will be exposed to the sun.
- Wear sunglasses with 99% or 100% UV absorption to protect your eyes.
- Don't use sun lamps or tanning booths.
Check Your Skin for Irregular-looking Moles
Check your skin regularly. If you notice a suspicious looking mole, show it to a doctor experienced in recognizing skin cancers, such as a dermatologist. A suspicious looking mole may have the following characteristics: irregular edges that are not smooth, more than one color or irregular in contour, grown or changed in any way, or bleeds. Your healthcare provider may monitor the mole or recommend removing it.
When to Contact Your Doctor
Contact your doctor if you discover a mole that is new has changed or looks suspicious: large or of irregular shape, color, or texture.
American Cancer Society website. Available at: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/home/index.asp .
National Cancer Institute website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/ .
Rigel DS. Cutaneous ultraviolet exposure and its relationship to the development of skin cancer. J Am Acad Dermatol . 2008 May;58(5 Suppl 2):S129-32. Review.
Last reviewed July 2008 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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