Ways to lower your skin cancer risk

Ways to lower your skin cancer risk

Here’s some good news: Most skin cancers are preventable and treatable when found early. To reduce your risk of getting skin cancer, follow these smart steps.

A person walks outside

For many older adults, childhood memories of summer days at the beach are particularly dear. But the harsh sunburn that sometimes followed doesn’t carry the same fond memories.

We’ve learned a lot about how to protect our skin from harmful UV rays. But too much sun exposure still causes problems. In fact, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the U.S.* About one in five Americans will develop skin cancer before the age of 70. That’s according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.*

The good news is that most skin cancers are preventable and treatable when found early. To reduce your risk of skin cancer, follow these smart steps.

Get regular skin exams

See a dermatologist. They are trained experts who know which irregularities to look for. They also learn what your skin and moles look like today. That makes it easier for them to spot changes over time that might need attention.

Need to find an in-network doctor?

Visit AetnaMedicare.com/FindProvider or call Member Services at 1-833-570-6670 (TTY: 711) between 8 AM and 8 PM, 7 days a week.

Stay out of tanning beds

If you start regular tanning sessions before the age of 35, you have a 75 percent higher risk of developing skin cancer.*

Cover up

Wear protective clothing when outside, including long sleeves, a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.

Seek out shade

The sun's rays do the most damage between 10 AM and 4 PM. Stay indoors during peak sunburn hours.*

Be picky about sunscreen

Sunscreens should protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Look for something that is water resistant with at least SPF 30. A lip balm with SPF is key, too.

Have a health question that can’t wait for your next checkup?

Call the 24-Hour Nurse Line at 1-855-493-7019 (TTY: 711) to speak with a registered nurse. If you need urgent or emergency care, call 911 or go to your closest emergency room.

Apply sunscreen correctly

Adults should apply two tablespoons of sunscreen 15-30 minutes before heading outside and every two hours after. If you’re swimming or sweating a lot, reapply more frequently.

Don't forget hard-to-reach spots

People almost universally forget their hands, scalp, ears and feet when applying sunscreen.

Let us help you catch cancer early

Your Aetna Medicare benefits help you take preventive steps to fight cancer, including screenings for breast and prostate cancer at no additional  cost. You can learn more from your Evidence of Coverage (EOC) document. You can find your EOC on your plan web page. Or call Member Services at 1-833-570-6670 (TTY: 711). They are available from 8 AM to 8 PM Monday to Friday and can answer any questions you have about your plan and coverage.

*FOR STATISTICS ON HOW COMMON SKIN CANCER IS SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Melanoma of the Skin Statistics. Last reviewed June 8, 2023. Accessed April 29, 2024.

*FOR THE RISK OF GETTING SKIN CANCER BEFORE THE AGE OF 70 SOURCE: Skin Cancer Foundation. Skin Cancer Facts & Statistics. Last reviewed February 2024. Accessed April 29, 2024.

*FOR THE LINK BETWEEN SKIN CANCER AND TANNING SESSIONS SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Tanning & your skin. Last updated January 2024. Accessed April 29, 2024.

*FOR PEAK UV HOURS SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation and Sun Exposure. Last updated July 6, 2023. Accessed May 30, 2024.


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