May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month
The American Cancer Society named May as Skin Cancer Awareness Month to help educate people about sun protection and the dangers of skin cancer.
According to the ACS, skin cancer accounts for nearly half of all cancers in the United States. More than 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer are diagnosed in this country each year. Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, will account for more than 76,100 cases of skin cancer in 2014.
Regular self-exams and professional screenings increase your chance of an early skin cancer diagnosis, when treatment in most likely to be successful. Changes in the skin – new growths, a sore that doesn’t heal or a change in the size, color or border of a mole – are things that should be addressed with a doctor.
Sun Safety Tips
- Avoid direct exposure to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If your shadow is shorter than you, seek shade as the sun’s rays are at their strongest.
- Seek shade, especially in the middle of the day when the sun’s rays are strongest.
- Wear protective clothing to guard skin from the sun.
- Use sunscreen and lip balm with broad spectrum protection and a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and apply at least 30 minutes before outdoor activities. Reapply every 2 hours.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat. If you choose a baseball cap, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your ears and neck.
- Wear sunglasses with 100 percent UVA and UVB absorption.
- Don’t use sunscreen as a way to stay out in the sun longer.
- Avoid tanning beds and sun lamps.
- Use sunscreen even on hazy or overcast days.
SOURCE: American Cancer Society