Approximately 20% of Americans will get skin cancer in their lifetime. That’s a shocking statistic, let’s look at some ways to prevent you and your loved ones from becoming a part of that 20%.
Use sunscreen. In every season, in all weather conditions, wear sunscreen because even in the rain and snow you are exposed to UV rays that will increase your chances of getting skin cancer. It only takes 15 minutes of unprotected UV ray exposure to damage your skin. Don’t forget to add sunscreen to the backs of your ears, lips (chap stick) and your hands. Also, be sure you are using enough. An adult requires an amount the size of a golf ball for their body every 2-3 hours. More frequently if you are sweating, in water or if it is excessively humid.
Infants and the elderly. These groups are especially vulnerable to the sun. Babies under six months of age should not use sun screen, instead keep them covered while outside and keep them inside during the hottest parts of the day, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The elderly have had extended time in the sun due to their age and are thus more prone to developing skin cancer, sunscreen is a must and keep them covered as much as possible.
No tanning! Laying out in the sun is very damaging for your skin. Tanning beds are even worse as they can emit up to 5x the amount of UV rays as the sun. Getting a tan is not worth cancer, think twice.
Pay attention to your skin. Simply checking over your skin and moles on a monthly basis to check for discoloration, odd shapes or just simply any change can allow you to catch skin cancer early. In most cases skin cancer can be treated and cured if caught early.
Antibiotics and medication. Many of these can cause an increased sensitivity to sun light. If you must go outside while on them be sure to up your sun screen use and stick to the shade. The elderly are especially vulnerable due to them commonly being on medications.
Cover up. Always cover up as much as is realistic with dark colored clothes. Wear sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection. Wear wide brimmed hats and full shoes.
A history of cancer increases your chances. According to a college of mine, Dr. Montoya, “If anyone in your immediate family has had pancreatic cancer and skin cancer, you have an increased chance of getting skin cancer at some point in your life.” Follow these tips above, incorporate them into your lifestyle and you will greatly reduce your chances.