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Skin Cancer Prevention Santa Monica

Ultraviolet radiation is the single most important cause of both melanoma and none melanoma skin cancer. Limiting exposure to the sun and avoiding tanning beds is therefore the cornerstone of skin cancer prevention. Follow these simple protective measures:

  • Avoid “peak” sunlight hours — 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. — when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
  • Seek shade whenever possible. Remember “No shadow, seek the shade!” If your shadow is shorter than you are, the damaging rays of the sun are at their strongest.
  • Wear protective clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and long-sleeved shirt and pants during prolonged periods of sun exposure.
  • Use a broad spectrum sunscreen, with UVA and UVB protection, and a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 15 or higher. Apply it generously 15 – 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours, especially when involved in outdoor activities such as gardening or swimming.

Some recent studies have suggested that long-term aspirin use may be associated with a reduced risk of melanoma, especially in women.

The benefits of oral vitamins and anti-oxidants have not been well proven in the prevention of skin cancer. However there is some evidence to suggest that a low fat diet may decrease ones risk. Also, recently published data suggests that oral ingestion of tea may have a prophylactic effect against squamous cell cancer.

Some preliminary data suggested that “statin” lipid lowering medications may decrease the risk of melanoma. However more recent analyses have cast doubt upon that suggestion.

For patients with a history of multiple skin cancers, such as immunosuppressed transplant patients, oral accutane may decrease the number of skin cancers produced while on the medication. Unfortunately this can have many undesirable side effects.

While at teaching Columbia University, Dr Massey published one of the first studies showing the potential benefit of laser resurfacing in lowering the risk of skin cancer in selected patients. Separate from its cosmetic benefits, resurfacing is now becoming better recognized as a potential method for skin cancer prophylaxis.

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