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Sun Safety: Skin Cancer Risk and Prevention

Sun Safety: Skin Cancer Risk and Prevention

July 9, 2024

During the summer, many of us spend more time working and relaxing outdoors. It’s important to take precautions during these times, as sun exposure and age are the two main risk factors for skin cancer. Along with our partners at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK), we would like to share with our members tips on preventing and recognizing potential signs of this common cancer.

Knowing the Symptoms of Skin Cancer

Knowing your skin will help you notice any changes and new moles or spots that may appear. You can use the letters ABCDE to check the moles and spots on your skin.

The ABCDE of Skin Cancer:

A – Asymmetry: Spots don’t look the same on all sides.

B – Border: The borders of the spot are uneven.

C –  Color:  The spot is more than one color.

D – Diameter: The length from one side of the spot to the other is more than 6 millimeters (about the size of a pencil eraser).

E – Evolution: The spot changes in size, shape, and/or color.

**If you find moles or spots that are changing, bleeding, or itching, make an appointment with a dermatologist.

Be Safe in the Sun

The best way to protect yourself from skin cancer is to avoid ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun’s rays. MSK recommends the following:

– Apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher at least 20 minutes (if using chemical sunscreen) before going outside, even on cloudy days and in the winter.

– Protect yourself from UVA and UVB rays by wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen.

– Stay out of the sun from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, when rays are the strongest.

– Reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming, toweling off, or sweating.

– Seek out shade whenever possible.

– Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeve shirts, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses.

– Avoid indoor tanning machines.

MSK Direct

The NYCDCC Welfare Fund has a partnership with MSK Direct to provide our members and your families with the highest-quality cancer programs and services, virtually or in-person, to help navigate your unique journey of screening and prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and life beyond cancer.

If you or a family member are impacted by cancer and would like to discuss treatment options at MSK, call the dedicated MSK Direct phone line for NYCDCC members and dependents at (844) 386-3368 or visit