Published on May 15, 2023
Did you know skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States, and also one of the most preventable? Hi, I’m Congressman Jim McGovern from Massachusetts, and my wife, Lisa, is Executive Director of the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s Congressional Families Cancer Prevention Program. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, but skin protection should be a year-round effort.
As someone who has had cancerous cells removed from my face, I know firsthand the importance of taking steps to prevent skin cancer. That means wearing broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day—even if it’s cloudy, wearing wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and long sleeves when you can, and avoiding the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the most damaging. You should also avoid sunbathing or using indoor tanning beds.
Skin cancer can affect anyone, regardless of your age, sex or skin color. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, is more common in women than men before age 50, but after that, affects men at a higher rate. While those with fair skin are at increased risk of skin cancer, people of color are often diagnosed at later stages, which can result in worse prognoses.
Fortunately, most skin cancers can be treated successfully when found early. Check your skin every month using the ABCDEs of skin cancer and if you see something that concerns you, call your health care provider right away. It’s also a good idea to have a health care provider check your skin every year. Early detection equals better outcomes.
To learn the ABCDEs of skin cancer and more skin cancer prevention tips, visit preventcancer.org.
Listen to more Voices for Cancer Prevention on the Prevent Cancer Foundation’s YouTube channel.