With the weather finally giving us the opportunity to spend more time outdoors it is important to know the risks of sun damage and ways to prevent harming your skin. Melanoma is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in the United States. Medical costs to treat it are estimated at almost $2 billion annually. In Michigan alone, 248 people die of skin cancer every year.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone practice monthly head to toe self-examination of their skin so that they can find any new or changing lesions. These symptoms could indicate cancerous or precancerous cells. With early treatment, Melanoma is almost always curable. Here are some tips to help you keep yourself and loved ones at a low risk for illness.
Do Not Burn. Overexposure to the sun is the most preventable risk factor for skin cancer.
Avoid Sun Tanning and Tanning Beds. UV light from tanning beds and the sun are directly linked to skin cancer and wrinkling.
Use Sunscreen. Generously apply a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Reapply at least every two hours, and after swimming or sweating.
Cover Up. Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses with 99-100% UVA/UVB protection, when possible.
Seek Shade. Seek shade when the sun's UV rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Watch for the UV Index. Pay attention to the UV Index when planning outdoor activities to prevent overexposure to the sun.
We wish you and your family plenty of fun in the sun this summer!