Dr. Maqsood Amjad.

Is skin cancer common?

One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, making it the most common cancer in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Does skin cancer affect only fair skinned people?

The disease does not just affect fair skinned people. Studies show that when people of color are diagnosed with skin cancer, it’s often in a late stage.

How can I protect myself and my family from skin cancer?

Summer is now here; it is a good time to think about the best ways to protect yourself from skin cancer. Here are a few simple steps you can take:

Seek the shade when the sun’s rays are strongest (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.). Also, wear protective clothing, such as a hat and long-sleeved shirts and pants, as well as sunglasses.

Use a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30. Don’t forget to slather it on your ears, toes and the back of your neck, and aim to use 1 ounce, which is equivalent to 2 tablespoons. Re-apply it every two hours or after swimming or sweating.

Avoid tanning beds. Exposure to ultraviolet radiation from these devices is associated with an increased risk of skin cancer.

Check your skin for any suspicious moles once a month.

Have a full-body skin exam once a year (or every six months if you’ve had skin cancer or have a family history of the disease).

–Maqsood Amjad, MD, Medical Director of the Medical Oncology Program at The Cancer Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton.

RWJBarnabas Health and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton, in partnership with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey—the state’s only NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center—provide close-to-home access to the latest treatment and clinical trials. Visit rwjbh.org/hamiltoncancer or call 844-CANCERNJ for more information.