Harvard Men's Health Watch

A lifetime in the sun? You can still cut your risk

Minimize the chance of melanoma, the most dangerous skin cancer, with smart sun protection habits and regular checks for worrisome moles.

Have you had a bit too much sun for your own good? Decades of boating, fishing, hiking, golfing, and just plain drowsing on the deck contribute to your lifetime exposure and risk of developing skin cancer. But there are simple steps you can take now to reduce your risk and catch worrisome skin blemishes before they turn into a threat—particularly malignant melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.

"The biggest misconception is that there is no turning back once you have accumulated sun damage and sunburn," says Dr. Daniela Kroshinsky, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and medical dermatologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. "But adopting good sun habits prevents accumulation of additional damage that could contribute to the overall risk for melanoma and even more so for non-melanoma skin cancers and pre-cancers."

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