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Skin cancer: tan now, pay later

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. More than 700,000 people get it each year.

How can you prevent skin cancer?
The best way is to avoid the sun. Avoid the sun from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. when its rays are strongest.

Cover up. Wear wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts and pants when you're out in the sun. Don't forget to keep your neck covered, too.

Use a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15. Sunscreen keeps out the harmful rays of the sun. Apply it at least 15 to 30 minutes before going in the sun. Put on more after swimming or sweating.

Don't use sunlamps, tanning beds or tanning pills. They can be just as harmful to your body as the sun.

How can you tell if you have skin cancer?
See your doctor if:

  • A mole changes size, shape or color.
  • There is an unusual growth on your skin.
  •  Your skin changes color in certain spots.
  • A sore won't heal.

The Baptist Health Cancer Resource Center offers a wealth of information on cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment. The Cancer Resource Center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. To reach the center, call (502) 896-3009 or fax (502) 896-3010. The Cancer Resource Center is a service of Baptist Health Cancer Care.