Health, Sun Care - May 28th, 2009
I realize skin cancer isn’t just a concern for women, but since summer is coming I wanted to write a post about it because May is Skin Cancer Awareness month.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than one million skin cancers are diagnosed annually. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, and contrary to popular belief, 80 percent of a person’s lifetime sun exposure is not acquired before age 18. Only about 23 percent of lifetime exposure occurs by age 18. (Source: Skin Cancer Facts)
There’s more. Seventy one percent of tanning salon patrons are girls and women aged 16-29. Frequent tanners using new high-pressure sunlamps may receive as much as 12 times the annual UVA dose compared to the dose they receive from sun exposure. People who use tanning beds are 2.5 times more likely to develop squamous cell carcinoma and 1.5 times more likely to develop basal cell carcinoma. (Source: Skin Cancer Facts) Furthermore, based on 7 worldwide studies, people who first use a tanning bed before age 35 increase their risk for melanoma by 75 percent. Are you seeing a trend here? I am.
So what’s the solution? It’s very simple. UV radiation can cause skin cancer. Decrease your exposure to UV radiation and you decrease your risk of developing skin cancer. The Skin Cancer Foundation offers these tips:
- Seek the shade, especially between 10 A.M. and 4 P.M.
- Do not burn.
- Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
- Use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day.
- Apply 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours.
- Cover up with clothing, including a broad-brimmed hat and UV-blocking sunglasses.
- Keep newborns out of the sun. Sunscreens should be used on babies over the age of six months.
- Examine your skin head-to-toe every month.
- See your physician every year for a professional skin exam.
There is no such thing as a healthy tan. If you have to have bronzed skin, try a self-tanner instead. The Skin Cancer Foundation also has some good information on sunscreens, and facts about the different kinds of skin cancer. I recommend you check it out!