How to spot—and prevent—sun damage.
Part of being a great athlete is staying focused—but Justin learned the hard way that you’ve got to bring that same level of focus to monitoring your skin for sun damage. That’s why he wants everyone to learn from his experience with melanoma and go get checked for skin cancer by a dermatologist on a regular basis.
Skin cancer is the out-of-control growth of abnormal cells in the epidermis. 1 in 5 people will get skin cancer in their lifetime, but you can beat the odds by staying vigilant. Here, we break down the three basic things to do to prevent it.
VISITING A DERMATOLOGIST
Experts recommend visiting a dermatologist annually for a full-body screening (or more often if you’re at an increased risk), which helps establish a baseline that can be observed over time. Your dermatologist will examine your skin, often with a magnifying device called a dermatoscope, and check for the following:
If your dermatologist sees anything suspicious, they will remove part or all of it by taking a skin biopsy that will be sent to a lab for analysis, which is the only way to know for sure if it’s cancer.
Getting regularly screened by a dermatologist takes just 10-15 minutes—but the peace of mind it provides lasts much longer.
—PERFORMING A SELF CHECK—
In between dermatologist visits, it’s important to check your own skin on a monthly basis. Skin cancer is one of the easiest cancers to detect because it usually begins where you can see it.
Check your entire body, even in places that aren’t exposed to the sun such as between the toes, the bottoms of the feet, and under fingernails. Having a partner can be helpful for hard-to-see places like the back or scalp, but you can use a hand mirror if you’re alone.
The most important thing to do is watch for any changes, and if anything looks suspicious, make an appointment with your dermatologist right away.