With spring here in full swing and summer just around the corner, you and your loved ones' time in the sun will increase significantly and it's time to take the proper precautions. It's a good time to remind individuals and families to be mindful of the risk of the most common form of cancer in the United States - and the most preventable cancer type!
As important as utilizing broad spectrum sunscreens when spending time in the direct sunlight is for preventing skin cancer, regular skin checks are pivotal for early detection. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer growths that are found and removed early are almost always curable, so as the weather gets warm, skin checks are a necessity. Here are some tips from the American Academy of Dermatology that can help you get started!
What to look for
There are 5 key characteristics to look for that could be trouble signs of skin cancer growth. Skin cancer growths showcase asymmetry - or one half is unlike the other half - have an irregular, poorly defined border and varying color shades. Melanomas are typically larger than 6 millimeters, but another warning sign to look out for is a continual evolution in its shape and color that show that the growth is progressing.
Use a full-length mirror
Every skin cancer check should start with a full body exam in a full-length mirror. This will allow you to examine your body from front to back to check for any questionable dark spots or moles that could be the early signs of cancer. Additionally, be sure to lift your arms when checking your sides to ensure an unobstructed view.
Check hard-to-reach spots
One of the risks of melanoma is that it can form on unexpected places on the body, so make sure your skin check is as thorough as possible! Some spots to keep in mind are forearms, palms, the backs of legs/feet, spaces between your toes, and the soles of your feet.
Utilize a hand mirror
Last but not least, there are a few spots on your body that you should closely inspect with a hand mirror. Examine the back of your neck and scalp with the mirror, and part your hair to check the underlying scalp for any marks or imperfections that may be present. This is also a good opportunity to check your lower back and buttocks as well.
What should I do if I spot a growth?
If you spot a growth that showcases the characteristics of melanoma, don't wait! Make an appointment with your dermatologist immediately to have it checked and removed if necessary!
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The headline says "5/4" but we bet more of you are going to celebrate tomorrow, when most of the country will put down their responsibilities and raise a glass to the Mexican Army's difficult victory over the French Empire on May 5, 1862.
(Rumor has it, there might also be some heavy partying.)
No matter what you have for going on this weekend, your FSA can help you ensure your celebration starts safe and stays safe. It might even help you enjoy May 6 as much as the previous day! In this week's FSA Friday, we put aside the news headlines to give you a few tips for enjoying a comfortable, relaxing, FSA-eligible Cinco de Mayo weekend.
It seems like just a few weeks ago, most of the country was still facing the possibility of snowfall. Today, the northeast United States is, once again, preparing for summer-like temperatures, clear skies, and perfect barbecue weather.
But it's been a long winter, and much of the country has been stuck indoors. So, it's probably best to avoid too much sunshine on the first warm weekend since September. Whenever possible, sit down in the shade, don't overexert yourself, and have that sunscreen ready. However, if you find yourself getting a little too much sun, we're happy to report that cold packs and other forms of cold therapy are FSA-eligible.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using these products to treat sunburns soon after you come out of the sun to fight the itching and burning from sunburns, as well as reduce any unwanted swelling and blisters.
(We like using them to just cool off, since they're drier and longer-lasting than damp towels or ice bags.)
Stay hydrated (inside and out)
I don't think we need to remind you how important it is to drink plenty of water (and no, beer, sangria and Coke Zero do not count toward your daily water requirements). Whenever you're outdoors and the temperature rises, you'll need to keep the water flowing, regardless of whatever else you're doing, eating or drinking.
In warmer weather, your skin needs some extra hydration, too. Even if you don't get a full-on sunburn, there's always the possibility your skin will crack and peel. Medicated moisturizers that are fortified with aloe vera are FSA-eligible with a prescription! Applying twice a day after being outdoors can help fight off gentle burns, and prevent your skin from drying out.
Ditch the itch
You aren't the only one looking forward to that outdoor fiesta. Bugs have been dormant all winter, and have likely planned their first summer meal at the same time as yours. But you can put the brakes on the buffet by using FSA-eligible sunscreen with bug repellent before stepping into the yard.
Should a few insects fight through the bug spray, it's a good idea to treat bites right away using hydrocortisone cream, which should immediately treat inflammation, redness and swelling before they happen.
[PRO TIP - Hydrocortisone is also fantastic for reducing sunburn swelling and burning. Have it in your bag, no matter where your weekend takes you.]
Don't be too proud
Okay, after a day full of food, drink, sun, bugs and sprays, you might not feel quite like yourself once the sun sets on Cinco de Mayo. But, rather than try to ignore the pain, allow yourself to enjoy a little relief while you wind down the weekend. Over-the-counter pain relief like ibuprofen and aspirin (along with a lot more water consumption) should help take the edge off the previous day's celebration. And they're FSA-eligible with a prescription, so use our Prescription Process to make it even easier!
FSA Fridayis a weekly roundup of the latest topics, tips and headlines to keep you updated on all things flex spending. It appears every Friday, exclusively on the exclusively on the FSAstore.com Learning Center. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
La Roche-Posay launched a "SKIN CHECKER" campaign to help people take a more active role in screening themselves and loved ones for melanoma.
Ninety percent of skin cancers are curable if detected in time.That's the main message from La Roche-Posay in its new "SKIN CHECKER" campaign in honor of Melanoma Awareness Month.The goal of the campaign is to encourage consumers to take a more active role in screening themselves and loved ones for melanoma by checking their beauty spots.
So, that means regularly checking for skin irregularities and, when in doubt, turning to a dermatologist for a closer look. Starring in the lead role of La Roche-Posay's latest campaign video are none other than two adorable Dalmatians who highlight the importance of checking beauty spots.
According to La Roche-Posay, each year 200,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed worldwide.In the U.S. alone, statistics show that one person dies every hour from melanoma. But, luckily, the odds of fighting melanoma are high as 90% of skin cancers be curedif they are detected in time. In its research across 23 countries, La Roche-Posay additionally found:
"- 1 out of 2 people never had their mole checked by a dermatologist
- 1 out of 4 people has never taken the time to check their own beauty spots."
Through the campaign,consumers can access lots of information about sun safety tips and skin cancer risks. La Roche-Posay also directs to what's known as the ABCDE method, which is a holistic approach to detecting suspicious moles on the body and urging consumers to visit dermatologists, if they're not sure about these beauty marks.
And, in its efforts to spread awareness, La Roche-Posay has created a community (online and offline) that encourages consumers to share the campaign details with friends and loved ones in an effort to fight skin cancer together and become a #SkinChecker.