May is Skin Cancer Awareness month. Water’s Edge Dermatology, which has a few dermatology clinics in Palm Beach and Broward counties, is offering free skin cancer screenings throughout this month.

Free skin cancer screenings are by appointment and take place at the following Water's Edge clinics: Lighthouse Point and Delray Beach on May 20.

“As the old saying goes, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,’” says dermatologist and Mohs skin cancer surgeon Justin Platzer. “Say no to tanning beds and always wear sunscreen. And, if you live in sunny Florida, it is critical to have regular skin cancer screenings—and there’s no better time than this month, while we’re offering screenings for free.”

Two great skin cancer prevention strategies are to get an annual skin checkup at a dermatologist's office, and exam your own body, regularly, for changes in moles and freckles. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, these are among the warning signs to look for when examining your body. See your dermatologist if you notice any of these changes.

  • A skin growth that increases in size and appears pearly, translucent, tan, brown, black, or multicolored
  • A mole, birthmark, beauty mark, or any brown spot that: changes color; increases in size or thickness; changes in texture; is irregular in outline; or is bigger than the size of a pencil eraser
  • A spot or sore that continues to itch, hurt, crust, scab, erode, or bleed
  • An open sore that does not heal within three weeks

Water’s Edge Dermatology offers these tips for having safe fun in the sun:

  • Generously and regularly apply water-resistant sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or more. Make sure the sunscreen is labeled as “broad-spectrum,” indicating it protects against ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating—and use it year-round.
  • Use extra caution when taking sun-sensitizing medications or are near water, snow and sand. Some over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen, and prescription drugs, such as antibiotics, can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. Water, snow and sand can reflect and/or intensify sun rays, making it easier to burn.
  • Wear protective clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and pants, a wide-brimmed hat that provides more coverage than a baseball hat and UVA/UVB protective sunglasses.
  • Seek shade during the middle of the day, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest, and try to schedule outdoor activities for other times of the day—even when it is cloudy.
  • Say no to tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from tanning beds can cause skin cancer. New self-tanning lotions and spray booths provide a tan without the risk of cancer.

The Delray Beach office of Waters Edge Dermatology is at: 4600 Linton Blvd., Suite 340, Delray Beach, 33445. For more information, call 561-921-2221. The Lighthouse Point Office is at: 2020 E. Sample Road (NE 36th Street), Lighthouse Point, 33064. For more information, call 954-960-8880.

About Lisette:

Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has had the luxury of reporting on health, fitness and other hot topics for more than 23 years. The long-time Boca Raton resident, University of Florida graduate and fitness buff writes for local, regional and national publications and websites. Find out more on www.wordscomealive.com.