Many of us are still separated during the month of May, but we can come together to share the facts about skin cancer and help save lives! With over 5 million cases diagnosed in the United States each year, skin cancer is America’s most common cancer. Fortunately, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer. About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 85 percent of melanoma cases are associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. By sharing facts about the dangers of unprotected exposure and encouraging people to check their skin for warning signs, we CAN and we WILL save lives.
Beautiful summer weather is right around the corner which means more time outdoors. UV exposure from the sun is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer. Not only can it cause premature aging and skin cancer, it reaches you even when you’re trying to avoid it – penetrating clouds and glass, bouncing off of snow, water and sand. What’s more, sun damage accumulates over the years, from prolonged outdoor exposure to simple activities like walking the dog, going from your car to the store and bringing in the mail. That’s why preventing skin cancer by protecting yourself completely requires a comprehensive approach. The Skin Cancer Foundation and CDC recommends that you:
*Seek the shade, especially between 10am and 4pm.
*Don’t get sunburned.
*Avoid tanning, and never use UV tanning beds.
*Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
*Use a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
*Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating. Ask us about our La Bella Vita brand sunscreens!
*Keep newborns out of the sun. Use sunscreen on babies over the age of six.
*Examine your skin head-to-toe every month. Keep an eye out for any NEW moles or blemishes that have popped up – especially if they appear after age
*Always check if your spots are CHANGING in color, shape, size or texture. Look for spots that are UNUSUAL in outline or continuously itch, hurt, crust or bleed for more than 3 weeks.
*See a dermatologist at least once a year for a professional skin exam.
In summary, you can reduce your risk of skin cancer by limiting or avoiding exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Checking your skin for suspicious changes can help detect skin cancer at its earliest stages. Early detection of skin cancer gives you the greatest chance for successful skin cancer treatment. We care about you and your skin!
(Sources: The Skin Cancer Foundation, www.skincancer.org)