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Texas Oncology Urges Texans to 'Save Your Skin'
Date:6/18/2008

an-American, or Native American descent.

Texas Oncology physicians recommend that people at risk check their skin regularly. Often, the first sign of melanoma is a change in the size, shape, color, or feel of an existing mole. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using the ABCD method to help detect melanoma:

* A = Asymmetry: One side of the mole does not match the other in size, shape, color, or thickness.

* B = Border: The edge or border of the mole may be irregular.

* C = Color: The color of the mole is not uniform, various shades of brown and black may be present.

* D = Diameter: Skin cancer melanomas are usually larger than 6 millimeters in diameter, but they can be smaller.

Changes in the skin should be reported to your health care provider right away. You may be referred to a dermatologist, who specializes in diseases of the skin. Experts recommend the following preventative measures to "save your skin:"

* Protect your skin by wearing a sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher every day. Reapply every two hours or according to the product label.

* Limit sun exposure during 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when ultraviolet light is strongest.

* Wear a hat, long-sleeved shirts, long pants or skirts, as well as sunglasses with at least 99 percent ultraviolet absorption to protect your skin and eyes.

* Newborn babies should be kept out of the sun. Babies should wear protective hats in the sun. Be sure to apply sunscreens on children over six months of age.

* Review your skin closely every month from the top of your head to your toes. See a physician if you notice any changes.

"Saving your skin is easier with some simple measures to outsmart the sun. Avoiding sun exposure when possible, and taking precautions such as using sunscreen go a long way in preventing skin cancer," said Bhandari.

About Texas Oncology

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