The summer is coming sooner than you think and in Michigan we all know it’s short lived. Summer is the best time to head outdoors with your family and enjoy all this season has to offer, picnics, time by the lake, and outdoor concerts, hiking and so much more. However, in the summer months there is a silent killer you need to be aware of, the sun’s harmful rays. Skin cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the skin cells, and it is the most common type of cancer in the United States. With over 5 million new cases diagnosed each year, skin cancer awareness and prevention are more important than ever. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month and the good news is that skin cancer is highly preventable and treatable if detected early. Here are some tips for preventing skin cancer and what to look for:

Wear Sunscreen: It seems obvious but it’s often overlooked. The most important thing you can do to prevent skin cancer is to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Make sure to apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day, even on cloudy days.

Seek Shade: While sending time outside in the sun feels great, it’s important to even out your day with equal parts in the shade.  If you’re going to be outside during peak sun hours, try to stay in the shade as much as possible.

Cover Up: Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats, to shield your skin from the sun.

Avoid Tanning: Tanning beds and sun lamps can cause skin damage and increase your risk of skin cancer.

Check Your Skin: It’s important to regularly examine your skin for any changes or new growths. Look for any moles, spots, or lesions that are asymmetrical, have irregular borders, are multicolored, or have a diameter larger than a pencil eraser. If you notice anything unusual, see a dermatologist right away.

Get a Skin Check: It’s recommended that adults get a skin check by a dermatologist at least once a year, especially if you have a family history of skin cancer or have had previous skin cancer diagnoses.

Skin cancer is highly treatable when detected early, so it’s important to be aware of the risks and take steps to protect your skin. By following these tips and getting regular skin checks, you can reduce your risk of skin cancer and enjoy healthy, glowing skin for years to come.