Preventing a Recurrence

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After you’ve been treated for skin cancer, your doctor should schedule regular follow-up visits to make sure the cancer hasn’t recurred.

Your physician, however, can’t prevent a recurrence. It’s up to you to reduce your risks by changing old habits and developing new ones. (These preventive measures apply to people who have not had skin cancer as well.)

  • Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. and during the summer months. Remember, ultraviolet rays pass right through water and clouds, and reflect off sand and snow.
  • When you do go out for an extended period of time, wear protective clothing such as wide brimmed hats and long sleeves.
  • On any exposed skin, use a sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15. Reapply it frequently, especially after you’ve been swimming or sweating.
  • Finally, examine your skin regularly. If you find anything suspicious, consult a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist as soon as possible.
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