BlueCross BlueShield Medical Director Provides Simple Tips to Protect your Skin from the Summer Sun

Buffalo, NY- Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S., with the highest diagnosis rates on the East Coast, according to new information released by the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.

Findings show that Buffalo’s diagnosed skin cancer prevalence rates, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, melanoma and other uncommon skin cancers, are also higher than the national average at 5 percent compared to 4.3 percent.

A new audiocast from BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York provides an overview of skin cancer prevention and detection. Dr. Mark Perry, Medical Director for BlueCross BlueShield shares simple ways that individuals can protect their skin from the sun during the summer and throughout the year.

According to Dr. Perry, a practicing pediatrician, individuals can follow these simple steps:

  • Use sunscreen and use it right. Use broad spectrum protection with SPF 30.  Reapply at least every 2 hours.
  • Limit UV exposure. Sunlight and tanning beds have ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Both can cause serious long-term skin damage.
  • Seek shade and cover up. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to block UV rays.
  • Get to know your skin. Talk to your doctor if you notice any changes in your skin.

“Love the skin you have, and take care of your skin,” said Dr. Perry. “Remember that protecting your skin is one of the most important things you can do to prevent skin cancer, and if you notice changes, talk to your doctor.”

The American Cancer Society offers the “ABCDE” rule as a guide for identifying changes:

  • A is for Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other.
  • B is for Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred.
  • C is for Color: The color is not the same all over and may include shades of brown or black, or sometimes with patches of pink, red, white, or blue.
  • D is for Diameter: The spot is larger than 6 millimeters across (about ¼ inch – the size of a pencil eraser), although melanomas can sometimes be smaller than this.
  • E is for Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape, or color.

The new audiocast is the latest in the health plan’s Point of Health series launched in December of 2016. Hosted by BlueCross BlueShield’s Vice President, Corporate Relations, Julie R. Snyder, Point of Health audiocasts are posted bi-monthly and feature an interview with experts on health insurance and health care, covering a variety of perspectives and information.

To listen to this episode, as well as past and future episodes visit www.bcbswny.com/pointofhealth.



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