USE A BROAD SPECTRUM, WATER-RESISTANT SUNSCREEN
Generously apply a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 to all exposed skin and under any light-colored or loose-fi tting clothing. Broad Spectrum sunscreens provide protection from both UVA and UVB sun rays. Be sure to reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours and after any water exposure including swimming or sweating. And, yes, sunscreen should be worn even on cloudy days!
WEAR SUN PROTECTIVE CLOTHING
When participating in outdoor activities, remember the essentials – sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat. Long-sleeved shirts and pants should also be worn whenever possible.
LOOK FOR SHADE
Th e sun’s rays are strongest between the hours of 10am and 4pm. Avoid prolonged periods of sun exposure during these hours, reapply sunscreen frequently and fi nd a shaded area that protects you from direct sun exposure. Rule of thumb: If your shadow appears to be shorter than you are, fi nd a shaded area.
USE CAUTION NEAR WATER & SAND
Water and sand reflect and intensify the harmful rays of the sun and increase your risk of burning.
NO TANNING BEDS!
Ultraviolet light from tanning beds increases the risk of skin cancer and increases signs of aging on the skin. Tanning beds also increase the risk of malignant melanoma by 75 percent. To get that sun-kissed look, consider getting a spray tan or try using a self-tanning product.
GET YOUR VITAMIN D SAFELY
Sun exposure is not the only way your body gets Vitamin D. Th e amount of vitamin D a person gets from sun exposure is inconsistent and increases their risk of skin cancer. Vitamin D can be obtained safely through a healthy diet which includes naturally enriched Vitamin D foods, fortified foods and beverages. Dietary supplements may also be used. If you are Vitamin D defi cient, speak to your doctor about safe ways to treat your condition that do not increase your risk of skin cancer.
VISIT YOUR DERMATOLOGIST
Develop a monthly routine to inspect your skin. If a growth, mole, sore, or skin discoloration appears suddenly, or begins to change, see your dermatologist. Have your dermatologist examine your skin at least once a year, especially for adults with signifi cant past sun exposure as a child or if you have a family history of skin cancer.
SIGNS OF CANCER
Fair-skinned people who sunburn easily are at a particularly high risk for developing skin cancer. Dark skin is not a guarantee against skin cancer. People with skin of color can develop all types of skin cancer. Th e three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma.
BASAL CELL CARCINOMA (BCC)
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer and appears frequently on the head, neck, and hands. It may appear as a small, fleshy bump, nodule, or red patch. Left untreated, BCC might begin to bleed, crust over, heal, and repeat the cycle. It can extend below the skin to the muscle, bone and nerves, causing considerable local damage and disfigurement.
SQUAMOUS CELL CARCINOMA (SCC)
Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common skin cancer. It is typically located on the face, lips, ears and mouth. Th is cancer may appear as a bump, or as a red, scaly patch. SCC can develop into large masses and become extensively invasive. Unlike basal cell carcinoma, SCC can metastasize (spread to other parts of the body) therefore, it is very important to get early treatment. When found early and treated properly, the cure rate for both basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas is over 95 percent.
Malignant melanoma is the deadliest of all skin cancer. Every year, an estimated 8,000 Americans will die from melanoma. It is projected that greater than 130,000 Americans will develop melanoma in 2012. Melanoma begins in the skin cells that produce pigment (melanocytes) which makes the skin tan. Melanoma can appear in mixed shades of tan, brown, and black and can also be red or white. It can metastasize, becoming fatal, making early detection and treatment essential. Melanoma may appear suddenly or begin in or near a mole, or another dark spot on the skin. It is important to know the location and appearance of the moles on your body to detect changes early. Any changing mole must be examined by your dermatologist. Early melanoma can be removed while still in the curable stage. Excessive sun exposure, especially sunburn, is the most important preventable cause of melanoma. Light-skinned individuals are at particular risk. A person has an increased chance of developing melanoma if a relative or close family member has had it. A typical moles and having a large number of moles can serve as markers for people at increased risk for developing melanoma.
TREATMENT OF SKIN CANCER
Early Detection Is the Surest Way to a Cure! If a skin biopsy reveals cancer, your dermatologist has several methods of medical and surgical treatment, depending upon the type of cancer, its location and the needs of the individual. Now that you know the facts, get out there and have some safe summer fun.