Expert Gives Tips to Help Prevent and Detect Skin Cancer

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VINELAND, N.J. -

May is Skin Cancer Prevention Month and today also happens to be National Melanoma Monday.

According to skincancer.org, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.

It’s statistics like this that show just how extremely important it is to be aware and try to prevent skin cancer from happening to you.

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Dr. Nandini Kulkarni, medical director of surgical oncology at Inspira Medical Centers in both Vineland and Elmer is stressing the importance of prevention and detection.

“There [are] three types of skin cancers that you generally worry about — you have the squamous cell cancer, basal cell cancer, and then you have the melanoma, which is the more dreaded of the three,” said Dr. Kulkarni.

Although melanoma isn’t the most common of the three, skincancer.org reports one person dies every hour from the disease and your risk of getting it doubles after five sunburns.

So, Dr. Kulkarni is offering some tips to help keep your skin safe as the summer season approaches.

“Keep your sun exposure time to a minimum, if possible," said Dr. Kulkarni. "Use shade, use sunglasses, full-length clothing if you have to.”

When it comes to prevention, Dr. Kulkarni says to try and stay out of the sun when it's strongest. That’s typically between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“If not," she says, use these others methods: stay under an umbrella, and if you go in the water and you get wet even if your sunscreen says it’s waterproof know that it’s still going to wash off,” said Dr. Kulkarni.

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She recommends reapplying a sunscreen of at least 30 SPF every two hours.

“The second aspect of [melanoma] is detection," said Dr. Kulkarni. She advises self-checks every month, and check-ups with either a dermatologist or physician at least once a year. 

"The key in all of this is keeping an eye on your moles and whether or not they’re changing at all,” she adds.

Because finding it sooner rather than later can be very beneficial.

“In early-stage skin cancer it’s completely curable; you have a 100-percent cure rate,” said Dr. Kulkarni.

It’s important to practice both protection and detection so you can enjoy many summer days to come.

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