What Should I Do To Prevent Skin Cancer?

Question: What should I do to prevent skin cancer?

Answer: The most important thing that you can do to prevent skin cancer is to wear sunscreen everyday. Lot of my patients don't like sunscreen but its now in formulations that are really easy to use, not greasy. You should use at least an SPF 15 every morning. Remember SPF only tells you about UVB, so you need a broad based sunscreen that says on the bottle, UVA, UVB protection.

Another thing that you can do is wear sun protective clothing. There are companies like Coolibar, and Solumbra that provide some protective clothing that you can wear that's light. And it wicks off the heat, so that it doesn't make you hot, so that's another thing that you can add. Don't forget your lips with lip balm, and if you're a golfer or like to do things outside, I don't want you changing your lifestyle, but just be smart about it.

Try to avoid the middle of the day, if you wear a baseball hat, not a wide brimmed hat, don't forget your ears with the sunscreen. And just overall be sensible about your exposure to the sun.

Michel McDonald, M.D., Vanderbilt University Medical Center
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