Prevention of Skin Cancer
Three simple steps to follow
Step #1: Daily Sun Protection
- Use broad spectrum sunscreen daily with SPF of 30 or greater. See Sunscreen Facts for more information
- Use protective clothing. This is defined as long sleeve shirts with conservative neckline and long pants with a tight fabric weave. Clothing such as this is usually considered by many as very hot, and thus not worn. However, this doesn't have to be the case. Loose, light-weight fabrics can be worn that are protective and stylish. Most clothing provides adequate protection as long as it is worn. The one exception to this may be a white cotton T-shirt, worn by many during the warm seasons, which provides a UPF of only ~5.
- Wear a broad-brimmed hat. Baseball style caps provide no protection for the ears, which is a common area for skin cancer to occur.
- Avoid sun exposure as much as possible between the hours of 10AM and 4PM. Attempt to concentrate outdoor activities into early morning, late afternoon, and evening. If your shadow is shorter than you are, you're likely to sunburn.
- Avoid tanning beds. A tan obtained in a tanning bed does NOT provide protection from harm sunrays.
- Wear sunglasses.
- Seek shade.
- Don't stay in the sun for prolonged periods of time, even if you are wearing sunscreen.
- For more detailed information on each of these sun protective behaviors please check the Sun Smart site (link to http://www.sunsmart.com.au/sun_protection)
Step #2: Monthly Self Skin Examination
In a brightly lit room, with two mirrors, look over your entire skin surface. Do this once a month. A family member may assist with examination of the back, but if they are not consistently available, you can use two mirrors for this exam. (link to http://www.skincarephysicians.com/SkinCancerNet/skin_examinations.html)
Step #3: Timely Skin Examination by a Dermatologist
You should receive at least one complete skin examination by a dermatologist closely after the time of your transplant (within 4 months if possible).
Your physician will then recommend how often you should receive subsequent skin examination. This depends on the number of risk factors for skin cancer, and the amount of skin disease and sun damage that you have. It may range from every month to only as needed (provided that your primary care or transplant physicians were examining your skin on routine yearly exams.)
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