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Preventing Skin Cancer
Prevention tips from the American Academy of Family Physicians
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, May 06, 2002
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5222
Melanoma can look like a mole, bump or growth on the skin. It can appear anywhere on the body. In men, melanoma is found most often on the chest, stomach or back, and in women it is found most often on the legs.
Melanoma can be prevented by:
- avoiding the sun, especially from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest;
- using sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (spf) of 15 or higher;
- avoiding tanning booths or sunlamps — they damage the skin just like real sunlight does;
- wearing protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts and long pants made of tightly woven fabric and hats; and
- checking the skin every month for signs of skin cancer. Individuals should speak with their family physician if they see an area on their skin that looks unusual.
Sunburns and suntans are signs that the skin has been damaged. This damage increases the risk of getting skin cancer. Sunburns in childhood are the most damaging. Children younger than 6 months of age should never be outside in direct sunshine and children 6 months or older should wear sunscreen every day. If the skin is protected from the sun, the risk is lowered.
Skin cancer is a threat, but it’s a threat everyone can do something about. Speak with a family physician to learn more about prevention and detection of skin cancer.
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Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 110,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.
Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is 240 million office visits each year — nearly 87 million more than the next largest medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.
To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org.
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