According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in a lifetime. Which makes seeing a dermatologist regularly very important. The majority of both skin cancer and melanoma, its deadliest form, are caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Luckily, this form of cancer is predominately lifestyle related. We have the power to prevent skin cancer.
- Don’t tan. Tanning, whether from the sun or a tanning bed, is a sign of sun damage and can lead to skin cancer. If you’d like a bronzed look, ask an Aesthetics & Cosmetics Specialist about a good self-tanner and makeup tricks.
- The sun’s dangerous UVA and UVB rays go right through the clouds, so use protection every day.
- Use “Broad Spectrum” SPF 30 or higher sunscreen. Broad Spectrum means it protects from all the sun’s dangerous UVA and UVB rays.
- Make sure to cover the entire body with sunscreen on days when you will be out a lot. Clothes help to block the sun’s UV rays, but light summer clothes have lower protection than one might expect. Also look for clothing lines with built-in SPF.
- Put sunscreen on 30 minutes before going out and reapply it every 2 hours or even sooner if in water or sweating a lot.
- Wear a hat with a brim bigger than 3 inches, and wear sunglasses to protect the eyes.
- Cover up and find shade during the sun’s prime time, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., if possible.
- See a dermatologist every year and do monthly head-to-toe self exams at home. Ask your clinician and read about what to look for. Skin cancers found early and removed are almost always curable.
May is the official month of Skin Cancer/ Melanoma Detection & Prevention. The Skin Cancer Foundation uses this opportunity to build awareness about the dangers of the sun and tanning in hopes of reducing the effect of this lifestyle disease. Protecting yourself and your family could keep you all skin cancer-free for life.