Questions About Cancer? 1-800-4-CANCER

What You Need To Know Aboutâ„¢

Melanoma and Other Skin Cancers

  • Posted: 01/11/2011

Prevention

People with skin cancer are at risk of developing another skin cancer. Limit your time in the sun and stay away from sunlamps and tanning booths. Keep in mind that getting a tan may increase your risk of developing another skin cancer.

The best way to prevent skin cancer is to protect yourself from the sun:

  • Avoid outdoor activities during the middle of the day. The sun's rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. When you must be outdoors, seek shade when you can.
  • Protect yourself from the sun's rays reflected by sand, water, snow, ice, and pavement. The sun's rays can go through light clothing, windshields, windows, and clouds.
  • Wear long sleeves and long pants. Tightly woven fabrics are best.
  • Wear a hat with a wide brim all around that shades your face, neck, and ears. Keep in mind that baseball caps and some sun visors protect only parts of your skin.
  • Wear sunglasses that absorb UV radiation to protect the skin around your eyes.
  • Use sunscreen lotions with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. (Some doctors will suggest using a lotion with an SPF of at least 30.) Apply the product's recommended amount to uncovered skin 30 minutes before going outside, and apply again every two hours or after swimming or sweating.

Sunscreen lotions may help prevent some skin cancers. It's important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen lotion that filters both UVB and UVA radiation. But you still need to avoid the sun during the middle of the day and wear clothing to protect your skin.