☀️ How to avoid getting skin cancer and sunburn in New Jersey

☀️ When to see a doctor after getting sunburn or having sun exposure

☀️ How to address sunburn and lingering marks to the skin


Whether you're going to the beach, a ballgame, or just doing some yard work, there are a few things you need to be doing to lower the risk of getting skin cancer.

Dr. Arnold Baskies with the American Cancer Society explains that Skin Cancer can be prevented by way of sun protection, which is extremely important as a way of trying to decrease the amount of cases projected this year alone.

"There'll be about 5-million -- and that's an underestimate -- of cases of skin cancer in the United States with about 2,200 (melanoma) of those 5-million in the state of New Jersey," Baskies said. "It's a health risk that we can avoid."

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Sunday at the beach in Seaside Park (Kevin Williams, Townsquare Media NJ)
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The American Cancer Society predicts that 80-percent of the skin cancers diagnosed each year and projected for 2023 are basal and squamous cell cancers with melanoma, the most serious of the three, to be the least common in comparison.

What we can all do to protect ourselves, Baskies explains, it to wear adequate clothing including a hat as well as avoiding direct exposure to the mid-day sun.

"That's when the sun is strongest," Baskies said.

It's also important to use sunscreen as part of that protection on ourselves and for our kids.

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"We know that even one sunburn, as a child, can increase the risk of developing skin cancer tremendously," Baskies said.

There's also a higher risk of people possibly getting skin cancer at the Jersey Shore.

"We did a study a number of years ago -- and I'm sure it still applies -- looking at the number of incidents of skin cancers in New Jersey and not surprisingly, it tends to be more common in Monmouth and Ocean Counties than in other counties, per-say," Baskies said. "That's a function of that fact people at the Shore live near the beaches tend to get more sun exposure."

For those days on the beach or at a sporting event this summer, you have a part to play in lowering the risk of getting skin cancer.

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Dr. Aaron Morgan, a dermatologist with Hackensack Meridian Health who has a practice in Neptune City, explains that we need to focus on protecting ourselves from something that can be dangerous -- the sun.

"We want people to start to change their behavior towards the sun and look at the sun as inducing skin cancers or being carcinogenic rather than being something that you want to seek," Morgan said.

He recommends using an umbrella, hat, and sunglasses at the beach, and, applying a zinc based sunscreen of at least 30-SPF or higher before you got out and every two hours after that or 80-minutes if you're going in and out of the water or sweating a lot.

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"It should be a broad spectrum sunscreen which means that it's covering both UVA and UVB," Morgan said.

To avoid sunburn, your best bet is to prevent it, Dr. Morgan explains, because once you have it, there's not much that you can do at that point.

"If you catch it early, and you know you've been in the sun a little too much, sometimes putting a Vitamin-C serum can help as far as taking away some of that burn," Morgan said. "Otherwise, it's just supportive measures, like if you get a really bad burn, it's taking the Motrin for the fever symptoms or putting some aloe on to just cool the skin."

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If you get a pimple, especially one that changes colors or size, Dr. Morgan recommends seeing your primary care physician or dermatologist to have it looked at to see what it is and if it's one of the three types of skin cancers.

"A basal cell and squamous cell cancer will typically look like a pimple that doesn't go away, you're looking for something that lasts for more than three or four weeks, not behaving like a normal pimple, kind of pops up," Morgan said. "Basal cell is usually kind of pink, pearly, shiny -- I would say translucent, a little bump -- and then, squamous cell is often a little bit tender."

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