Baseball great Micky Mantle once said, “If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.” It’s a notion many seniors today can connect with. Since May is World Skin Cancer and Melanoma Prevention month, it’s the perfect opportunity to put those wise words into practice.
Melanoma and skin cancer become more common as you naturally age. This means that seniors are more susceptible to these forms of cancer. There’s no doubt that seniors enjoying retirement living love the sun and the outdoors, but staying healthy means taking the proper precautions. In this article you’ll learn useful tips for melanoma and skin cancer prevention to help make sure your fun in the sun doesn’t have any unwanted effects.
Essential Tips to Help Prevent Melanoma and Skin Cancer
When it comes to the prevention of skin cancer and melanoma, lowering your risk is the name of the game. Before we get into the tips, it’s important to note that there is no proven way to completely prevent these types of cancer from forming. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the proper steps to protect yourself. Odds are, your retirement is filled with plenty of exposure to the great outdoors and the sun. Following these tips can help you protect your skin and the vibrant lifestyle you enjoy.
- Wear Sunblock: This sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at how many people don’t follow this advice. The UV index is highest between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., so make sure you’re reapplying every two hours. If you use spray sunscreen, you still need to rub it in.
- Skip the Tanning Bed: Being out in the sun to enjoy a variety of activities is one thing, but tanning beds often have stronger forms of radiation than the sun. As we age, our skin is also more sensitive to tanning, making it easier for seniors to overdo it and cause problems.
- Perform Self-Exams: This is a staple of skin cancer and melanoma prevention. About once a month you should check your skin for anything abnormal. For older adults it can be difficult to check hard-to-see spots. An easy fix is to get help from your doctor during regular visits.
- Use Protective Clothing: Keeping your face, neck and ears covered can go a long way toward skin cancer prevention. If you’re planning on spending a significant time outside, wearing a wide-brimmed hat is an easy way to keep yourself protected.
- Visit a Dermatologist: Just like a regular physical, it’s important to get an annual checkup from a dermatologist to look for signs of skin cancer and melanoma. Skin changes are more common for older adults and visiting a dermatologist is a great way to stay on top what’s harmless and what might need a closer look.
The ABCDEs of Melanoma Prevention
This is an easy way to determine when you should tell your doctor if any of your moles exhibit the following symptoms of melanoma.
- Asymmetry – One half looks different than the other.
- Borders – Are any moles poorly defined or irregular?
- Color – Have any moles changed color?
- Diameter – Are they larger than before?
- Evolving – Has the mole or skin changed in a significant way?
Symphony Senior Living Supports Your Vibrant Lifestyle
Now that you have more knowledge on skin cancer and melanoma prevention, following these tips can help lower your risk for these forms of cancer.
It can be challenging to keep track of all the best practices when it comes to your health. At Symphony Senior Living, we’re a partner that helps you live a healthy and vibrant life. Contact our team today to discover how our retirement community can strike a chord with your ideal lifestyle.