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How to Lessen Your Skin Cancer Risks

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Think you're at risk for skin cancer? Learn how to prevent and lessen your chances now with these tips from a professor of dermatology.
Question: "Am I destined to have skin cancer?"

Answer: You may develop wrinkles and lose skin elasticity at a younger age, says Julide Tok Celebi, M.D., an assistant professor of dermatology at Columbia University. If you had a tendency to burn, you’re at risk for melanoma, the deadly form of skin cancer. Having just one painful sunburn more than doubles your odds, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. If you got brown, not red, you’re still in danger of developing squamous-cell carinoma and other types of skin cancer that aren’t as life threatening but can be disfiguring if not diagnosed and treated.

According to some estimates, 75 percent of melanomas are spotted by individuals, not doctors. Study your body head to toe (have a partner or good friend check areas you can’t easily see). Look for new growths that are pink, red, black or dark brown; they can be flat or raised. Also check existing moles for changes in color, size and shape. Any skin changes should be reported to your dermatologist. With early treatment, almost all skin cancers are 100 percent curable.

Originally published in Fitness magazine.


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