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Memphis physician shares tips on how to protect against skin cancer

Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 6:27 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - It would not be summertime without soaking up some rays. But no matter how good the sun feels, protecting the skin is must for all shades.

“The American Academy of Dermatology recommends things like avoiding using tanning beds when outside, try and stay in the shade if possible and when not possible wear protective clothing,” said Dr. Samuel Riney, an oncologist and hematologist with Methodist Cancer Institute.

Dr. Riney says to apply sunscreen with at least an SPF rating of 30.

Dr. Riney added that not protecting the skin from the sun can lead to one of the most common types of cancer - skin cancer.

It can take several different forms and can affect people of all races and ethnicities.

“The most common types of skin cancer are things like squamous cell carcinomas and basal cell carcinomas. Those probably make up a good 95 percent or so of skin cancer,” he said.

These skin cancers can be itchy, appear flaky, or discolored.

Another type of skin cancer is melanoma, which accounts for about five percent of all skin cancers.

“But it does account for a majority of the deaths from skin cancer,” said Riney. “So, they’re a very aggressive type of skin cancer.”

Melanoma can often look like larger moles that are asymmetrical, or have irregular borders. They can have multiple colors and may change shape over time. If not caught early, this form of cancer can spread throughout the body.

“So, it’s very important that we take measures to do self-body exams, look for any of these characteristics that we consider abnormal or things that look different, and consult with a dermatologist,” said Riney.

For more information on skin cancers, visit the American Academy of Dermatology here.

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