Skin Cancer Prevention & Screening

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At UVA Health, we care about your skin. That's why we offer skin cancer prevention and screening all year long. And each May, we offer a free skin cancer screening with a dermatologist.

Is Your Mole Cancerous? Skin Cancer Prevention

Melanoma can arise from otherwise healthy skin. But changes to a mole can be a sign of melanoma.

The ABCDE's of Melanoma

Learn the 5 signs of skin cancer. View transcript.

Watch for:

  • Asymmetry: Irregular shape; one half does not match the other
  • Border: Ragged, notched, blurred or irregular in outline; spreading pigment
  • Color: Uneven color; shades of black, brown, tan, white, grey, red, pink or blue
  • Diameter: Increasing size; melanomas usually grow larger than a pencil eraser

Other symptoms of cancer or serious skin conditions include broken or bleeding skin that won’t heal after a few weeks of targeted care.

When to See a Dermatologist

Get a mole or spot on your skin checked if it’s:

  • Growing fast
  • Itching
  • Bleeding
  • Changing color quickly

If it's melanoma, you'll need our dedicated melanoma team of experts. They've devoted their careers to helping patients beat melanoma. Learn how.

Women with dark skin sunbathing at the beach.

Protecting Your Skin from the Sun

Do you need sunscreen if you have dark skin? How does skin color affect your risk of skin cancer? UVA Health dermatologists discuss the myths and facts surrounding skin color, sunscreen, and skin cancer.

Read on Healthy Balance

Are You At Risk for Skin Cancer?

Your risk for skin cancer increases if you:

  • Are fair-skinned
  • Have a history of intense sun exposure, especially in childhood
  • Have more than 100 moles or large, irregular or unusual moles
  • Have close blood relatives — parents, siblings, children — with melanoma

How to Prevent Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is highly preventable. Follow these simple steps for prevention:

  • The best protection is a building – stay inside during the peak sunlight hours.
  • Wear protective clothing, including long pants, long sleeves and a wide-brim hat. Clothing with SPF protection is available and a rating of at least 30-50 offers the most effective coverage.
  • Wear sunscreen and protection for your eyes when in the sun. 
  • Avoid tanning beds.
  • Avoid prolonged sun and ultraviolet (UV) light exposure. 
  • Use sunscreen effectively.
  • Wear preventive gear (like gloves) when doing tasks that are demanding on your skin.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Properly clean your skin.
  • Regularly examine your skin for lesions and possible melanoma.

Our skin cancer oncologists collaborate closely with our dermatologists to provide expert care in skin cancer screening and treatment.