Preventing Skin Cancer

Unthawing each spring after a long, cold winter can tempt even the most rigorous skin-care aficionado into leaving their sunblock at home in favor of soaking up some rays. Our bodies and minds are craving Vitamin-D that isn’t in capsule form, as well as the chance to defrost our toes with an iced tea in hand. Unfortunately, particularly at the altitudes of the high desert in Central Oregon, this temptation has the potential to cause sunburn and skin damage that may progress into skin cancer over time.  


 What to Know

Most of us know that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States — though it’s often a surprise to hear that 1 in 5 Americans will develop a dangerous lesion over the course of their lifetime. All the more astonishing is that skin cancer is the second most common cancer amongst women aged 15 to 29, and that another 96,480 new melanomas are expected to be diagnosed in 2019. 

Between 2008 and 2019, the number of invasive, life-threatening cases mentioned above increased by a shocking 54%. To keep yourself and those you love safe and healthy, remembering a few of the American Academy of Dermatology’s (AAD) tips and suggestions when spending time in the sun can make all the difference.  


Important Takeaways

● Skin Cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.
● Both young and older individuals are at risk.
● Melanoma cancers are highly treatable when caught early.
● A single blistering sunburn can increase the likelihood for skin cancer by over 50 percent.
● Melanomas can hide in hard to view places such as under the fingernails, between the toes, and
on the scalp.
● Melanoma symptoms and signs often follow the ABCDE’s that the AAD outlines above.
● Memorize and document your moles, and be cognizant of any changes.
● After performing a self-exam, record your moles on a Body Mole Map through
For more information, visit The American Academy of Dermatology, or schedule an appointment with us
for a skin cancer screening!







Sun Protection and Kids

Although we commonly associate skin cancer with mature skin, the process of cellular damage
that leads to dangerous lesions often begins during our early years. According to the CDC,
blistering sunburns as a child increase the likelihood of cancer considerably―nearly doubling a
person’s chances of developing melanoma over the course of their lifetime. Furthermore, the
American Academy of Dermatology states that experiencing five or more blistering sunburns
between the ages of 15 and 20 increases risk for melanoma by 80%, as well as non-melanoma
cancers by 68%.

Protecting your child’s skin sets them up for a healthy life long after they reach adulthood.
Through the progression of newborn infancy to adolescence and beyond, there are a few sun
safety practices and tips to remember as we enjoy summer.



First, naturally, is sunscreen! Most of us are aware that in order to protect an active kid, water
resistance is key. Most dermatologists also suggest a sun protection factor (or SPF) of over 30.
At Deschutes Dermatology, we recommend mineral sunblocks with zinc oxide and titanium
dioxide as they offer more broad spectrum protection and are less likely to cause irritation. One
of our favorites is Elta MD’s UV Pure Broad Spectrum sunblock, which is chemical free,
provides both UVA and UVB protection, and is water resistant up to 80-minutes. Sunscreen is
not recommended for babies under 6-months-old as they should be kept out of direct sun



Also important is limiting any time spent outside during peak hours of the sun’s arc, usually 10 in
the morning to 4 in the afternoon. During this period, it’s particularly important to make sure that
sunscreen is applied properly, hats are worn, and shade is nearby. As burns can start to develop in as little as 15 minutes, your child could be well on the way to a sunburn before you even finish a walk to the park.


Protective clothing, such as a good hat and sun shirt, is also be a great way to keep your child
safe. Making sure these items are available in their backpack or book bag can keep their skin
protected even during unexpected outdoor activities. One of our favorite UPF (ultraviolet
protection factor) clothing brands is Coolibar, with fun patterns and colors.
If a child you love does develop a serious burn, it’s important to keep a close eye on any
preexisting moles or suspicious spots. The American Academy of Dermatology’s ABCDE’s of
melanoma can give you helpful pointers on what to look for. Following up with a skin cancer
screening can ensure that any suspicious lesions are caught early, drastically decreasing
chances of melanoma related complications.

Elta MD products are available at Deschutes Dermatology Center. Visit Coolibar’s website for more details on the different products they offer.