Did you know that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States? There are many types of skin cancer. The two main types are squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. Melanoma is the third most common form of skin cancer and the most deadliest. Did you know that skin is our largest organ? People with all skin tones can get skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, someone dies from skin cancer every two hours; and, one in five Americans die from it within their lifetime. Ultraviolet (UV) rays—from the sun or from artificial sources like tanning beds cause skin cancer. Many are eager to enjoy the outdoors as our State is planning to re-open from the COVID-19 Stay at Home Order, however, we must not only wear the recommended masks to protect others, but also protect ourselves by using sun safety tips. All families of every race and skin tone should implement the following sun safety recommendations from the CDC:
- Seek shade, especially during midday hours. This includes 10 am to 4 pm, March through October, and 9 am to 3 pm, November through February. Umbrellas, trees, or other shelters can provide relief from the sun.
- Be extra careful around surfaces that reflect the sun’s rays, like snow, sand, water, and concrete.
- Wear sun protection gear like a hat with a wide brim and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes.
- Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts and other eye problems. Wrap-around sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection by blocking UV rays from the side.
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants or a long skirt for additional protection when possible. If that’s not practical, try wearing a T-shirt or a beach cover-up.
- Apply a thick layer of broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher at least 15 minutes before going outside, even on cloudy or overcast days. Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.
To learn more about skin cancer, visit any of the national websites below.
National Cancer Institute
American Academy of Dermatology
Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Visit the Connections IN Health Facebook page for more resources.