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Protecting our skin as summer approaches | Wear The Gown

Really, year-round protection should be the ultimate goal for everyone.

SAN ANTONIO — We are still three weeks away from summer but your skin could already be suffering damage from too much time in the sun and not enough protection. In Wear The Gown, we find out the best ways to protect yourself from the harmful rays of the sun.

Even when it is a cloudy day or in the winter time, especially here in south Texas, you need to think about protection from the sun whenever you head outside, because skin cancer is very common and prevalent here in south Texas.

"Basal cell carcinoma is actually the most common type of cancer overall in human beings. People at risk usually have fair skin type, white hair, white eyes. They freckle or burn very easily," said Dr. Valerie Shiu, a dermatologist with UT Health San Antonio.

The warning signs to remember hot to protect yourself is as easy as ABCDE:

  • A - Is asymmetry, or lesions that are not symmetrical
  • B - Stands for border, with the ultimate goal of a smooth regular border
  • C - Means color, where one uniform color for moles is ideal
  • D - Stands for diameter, which should be less than six mm, or about the end of a pencil eraser tip
  • E - Means evolution.

Dr. Shiu: added, "Things that are changing, growing over time."   

She said the less change the better. To reduce sun exposure and risk, it is best to avoid peak sun exposure between 10am and 2pm. It is also best to wear SPF 30 or higher daily on sun exposed areas. In addition, wear light layered, light colored clothing to protect yourself further. And finally wear sunglasses that have both UVA and UVB protection. 

There are also many myths about skin cancer. Starting with young people do not have as much of a high risk. Dr. Shiu added, "Skin cancer can affect anybody at any age. Melanoma is actually the most common cancer to affect people in their twenties " 

Myth number two, those with darker skin need not to worry. Dr. Shiu said, "This is false. We see skin cancer in all skin types."   

Number three. On a cloudy day you can not get sun damage. Dr. Shiu informed us, "Clouds can only filter just a small amount of UV radiation. So it's actually advice to continue sun protection and sunscreen use even on cloudy days." 

"Dr. Shiu says there are several treatments for skin cancer. The gold standard they use at UT Health San Antonio is caled Mo's surgery. It is all done outpatient and reconstructive surgery can even take place that very day."

To find out more about protecting your skin or to set up an appointment with the UT Health San Antonio Mays Cancer center, dial 210-450-9840. To read about more information from UT Health San Antonio and skin cancer click here.

If you would like to see more of our Wear The Gown stories just head to WearTheGown.com.

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