The Warning Signs for Skin Cancer and How to Prevent It

The conversation surrounding skin cancer has grown over the past few years, likely gaining momentum from startling statistics and countless warnings from doctors. Melanoma, one of the four main types of skin cancer, had a 27 percent increase in new invasive cases diagnosed annually from 2013 to 2023.

In honor of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, we’ll discuss the different types of skin cancer, their early warning signs, and how to protect yourself against it.

The different types of skin cancer

Skin cancer develops from the abnormal growth of skin cells. One in five people in the US will develop it by the time they’re 70 years old.

There are four main types of skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Basal and squamous cell carcinoma are the most prevalent typically appearing in the most sun-exposed areas of your body. Basal cell carcinoma appears as a pearly wax or bump, a flesh-colored or brown scar, or bleeding and scabbing. Squamous cell carcinoma seems more of a firm, red nodule or a flat lesion with a crusted and scaly surface. Merkel cell carcinoma is a rare and aggressive type of cancer, appearing as tumors, painful lesions, or nodules on sun-exposed areas.

Melanoma is likely the type of skin cancer most are familiar with. This cancer can appear anywhere on your body and is usually identifiable as a mole that changes in color or size, a large brown spot with dark speckles, or dark lesions on your hands or feet. We’ve heard dermatologists’ pleas, especially with the younger generations, to start wearing sunscreen every day — even on overcast days. Too many ultraviolet (UV) rays damage your skin and increase the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Freckles, something that many people credit their genetics for, are caused mainly by UV exposure.

What causes skin cancer?

While many know too much exposure to UV rays is a significant factor in skin damage, many other characteristic risk factors may heighten your chance of developing this type of cancer.

  • Blue or green eyes
  • Lighter skin or skin that is easily burnt
  • Particular hair colors (such as red or blonde)
  • Family history of skin cancer
  • Old age
How to protect against skin cancer

Unfortunately, genetics are unchangeable, but there are ways to avoid too much sun exposure so you have a better chance of staving off cancer. To protect yourself, you can take several precautions that lessen your chances of developing it.

  • Avoid the sun, if possible, from 10 AM to 2 PM when the sun’s rays are strongest.
  • Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every two hours outside.
  • Avoid tanning beds.
  • Schedule an exam with your Primary Care Physician (PCP) if you have concerns about your skin.

If you think you have any of the symptoms stated earlier or believe you’re at risk of developing them, consult with your PCP to set up a time to get tested for skin cancer. Early detection of this type of cancer is critical! With Healthcare2U, it’s as easy as picking up the phone and calling your doctor.

Trenton Employees Receive a Boost in Healthcare

A Partnership with Healthcare2U Provides City Staff with Direct Primary Care Membership

AUSTIN, TX. May 4, 2023 – City of Trenton employees are now benefiting from an enhanced healthcare plan. The plan provides a Direct Primary Care (DPC) Membership to city staff and aims to ensure that a visit to a doctor is affordable and accessible. Following a statewide increase in health premiums for state employees, Trenton sought options to ensure those costs remained low. As a result, they opted for a self-funded insurance plan through Aetna that included Healthcare2U’s DPC Membership. This move is expected to save the city $4.3 million annually.

The added Healthcare2U DPC Membership gives employees an excellent option for affordable access to physicians and internists. With an out-of-pocket cost of $0 for virtual primary care, $10 for an in-office acute consultation, and $25 for urgent care, the city believes this encourages employees to maintain a regular check-up routine while reducing overall claims costs.

“Our direct primary care model is the only one of its kind in the nation. We are in all 50 states and thanks to the brokers who see us as a valuable addition to their portfolio, we are quickly expanding throughout New Jersey,” said Andy Bonner, CEO of Healthcare2U. “Our team works with members to facilitate timely and frequent access to medical care that can be essential to the early detection of a serious condition.”

“We’re fortunate to be partnering with Healthcare2U for city staff with a direct primary care membership, which helps to ensure that all of our city employees can access timely, affordable, and essential health services,” said Mayor Reed Gusciora. “We are projected to save millions of dollars through our new insurance policy and we’re so grateful to all of our partners for helping to make this a reality.”

DPC is not meant to be a substitute for major medical insurance, but it does have its advantages. The low cost of an office visit with DPC is meant to prompt individuals to see a doctor more often and avoid developing a serious complication with an unaddressed or undiagnosed issue. In addition to acute and urgent care visits, the plan offers:

  • Unlimited access to bilingual licensed medical providers online or by phone, 24/7/365 for minor illnesses and injuries at $0 out-of-pocket cost to members
  • Annual physical with four labs: complete metabolic panel (CMP), complete blood count (CBC), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and lipid panel
  • Unlimited chronic disease management for 13 prevalent chronic disease states within manageable ranges.

Healthcare2U partners with third-party administrators, carriers, and brokers to provide their clients with the DPC Membership as a non-insurance alternative. These partnerships also allow Healthcare2U the unique opportunity to embed its services into valuable solutions that are available for wide distribution in the marketplaces.

Membership with the City of Trenton is established through Healthcare2U’s partnership with Fairview Insurance.


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About Healthcare2U:

Healthcare2U is a membership-based, hybrid direct primary care (DPC) organization that ensures employers of all sizes and structures have nationwide access to affordable, consistent, and quality primary care over 40% below the average cost of traditional DPC practices operating in the market today. Through our proprietary Private Physician Network (PPN)™, Healthcare2U promotes healthy living by detecting, treating, and managing acute and chronic conditions before the onset of serious illness. Healthcare2U is headquartered in Austin, Texas and is available nationwide. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter @Healthc2U and LinkedIn at Healthcare2U.

 About Fairview Insurance:

Fairview Insurance is a full-service insurance agency based in Verona and Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Working on behalf of individuals, companies, and public entities, we provide customized insurance plans, employee benefits, and financial planning services. Our longevity and depth of experience have fostered a solid reputation for friendly, personal service that forms the core of our success.

Why Fad Diets Can Be Dangerous, and How to Spot Them

An estimated 45 million Americans go on a diet each year. Of those 45 million, 50 percent stated they participated in a “fad diet.” A fad diet is marketed as the best and fastest way to lose weight. Often touted as the next “craze,” they only last a few months, leaving expensive supplements and specialty foods in their wake, never to be used again.

Although some fad diets have components of truth, they’re often marketed as one-size-fits-all, which can be very harmful. Forcing a diet when it’s not suitable for your body can be dangerous. We’ll dive into why fad diets are bad for you, how to spot them, and the best option for starting off a diet correctly.

Why fad diets can be harmful

While there are many positives to eating healthier and losing weight, when the cons of a diet outweigh the pros, it becomes an issue. Fad diets often don’t give your body the proper nourishment to maintain a healthy and happy life. Below are a few reasons why fad diets can be harmful.

  • They can negatively affect your physical/mental health. Fad diets can create digestive issues like bloating, indigestion, and constipation, to name a few, as well as cause issues with your mental health. Cognitive function can decline because most fad diets are low in salt and glucose, which are crucial for normal brain function. They also increase stress levels, which can lead to depression, especially if the diet isn’t giving you the desired outcome.
  • They can be expensive. Many diets claim that you must buy a particular type of supplement or that you need to throw away all your food and start fresh with specialty ingredients. This practice can be costly and wasteful, especially if you drop off your diet before it’s finished.
  • They can end up causing weight gain. Fad diets may make you lose weight quickly for a brief period, but that’s usually just water weight. Once the diet is over, you typically regain that weight fast and in full.
How to spot a fad diet

Fad diets will be easy to spot as they are diets that become popular quickly and fade fast. However, sometimes they aren’t as obvious, and some are easier to spot than others. Here are a few key indicators you’re dealing with a fad diet.

  • It claims you don’t need to exercise.
  • It promises quick weight loss.
  • It requires you to buy dietary supplements, typically labeled as “weight loss aids, fat burners,” etc.
  • It’s very rigid and has you on an extreme eating schedule.
  • It doesn’t have much evidence or many studies to back it up.

Some fad diets you might be familiar with throughout the years are the Keto diet, Whole30, Atkins, and juice cleansing, to name a few. These diets were trendy during their prime and even worked briefly for some people, but ultimately, they were not sustainable.

The best and safest way to start dieting

The best advice for someone wanting to start a diet is to consult a dietician. Dieticians are experts in food and nutrition and will be able to assess your weight, health, and current eating habits and create a diet plan that is best for you. They’ll then track your progress and make sure you’re staying healthy and still getting the essential nutrients your body needs. Utilizing these experts makes it easy to follow a plan while healthily achieving your desired results.

How to Improve Your Sleep Hygiene

Healthcare2U’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. John Rodriguez, speaks with Jeff Kennedy on a few ways to improve your sleep hygiene. Dr. Rodriguez explains why poor sleep hygiene affects our health so negatively and tips on how to get better sleep. To read the interview transcript, click here.

To view more helpful Healthcare2U videos, check out our YouTube Channel!