If there is one consistent subject that I write about repeatedly in this blog it is sun protection. There is a very good reason for that – non- melanoma skin cancer has reached epidemic rates in the US. May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month so I wanted to share some important information about the subject with my readers.
According to The Skin Cancer Foundation:
Skin cancer is a lifestyle disease, affecting young women, older men and everyone in between. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime; 13 million Americans are living with a history of nonmelanoma skin cancer, and nearly 800,000 Americans are living with a history of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
But there is good news: because skin cancer is chiefly lifestyle disease, it is also highly preventable.
“About 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers and 65 percent of melanoma cases are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun,” says Perry Robins, MD, President of The Skin Cancer Foundation. “Everyone, regardless of skin color, should make staying safe in the sun a priority and incorporate sun protection measures into their daily life.”
In my opinion the scariest phenomena occurring right now is the rapid rise in the cases of melanoma among young women who use tanning beds. Let me be very clear – tanning beds are not safe! I wish the FDA would ban them entirely. If someone tells you that tanning beds aren’t harmful they are lying to you – period.
Since skin cancer is almost entirely preventable the key to protecting yourself (and your loved ones) is in your hands. Remember to:
- Use a broad spectrum sunscreen – 365 days a year.
- Don’t skimp on sunscreen – apply plenty of sunscreen to all exposed skin and reapply every 2 to 3 hours when outdoors.
- Seek shade and wear protective clothing when outside.
- Don’t burn!
- Never, ever use tanning beds!!
- Do self exam to check your moles and to see if you have developed any suspicious lesions.
- See a dermatologist for a professional mole check yearly.
- The Skin Cancer Foundation has an excellent website that includes very important information about skin cancer and its prevention.
- If you know someone who uses tanning beds please, please have them read this article: A Death by Suntan at Age 26. Just be forewarned – this story is heartbreaking.
- 5 Facts about Melanoma Prevention – Skin Inc.
- This race is a way to raise awareness and money for skin cancer research
- Five Things to Know about Sunscreen – Renee Rouleau blog
Image from skinsheen.com