Why Talk About Skin Cancer in the Winter?
When thinking about winter activities, there may be many things that come to mind. If you live in a northern state, images of sports like hockey, skiing, snow shoeing or tubing may be immediate thoughts. Or perhaps staying indoors with a good book, cooking comfort food or playing a favorite game with family members would be your preferred past-time.
For those folks living in southern areas, or those who may be dreaming of vacationing to a warm location, basking in the warmth of the sun may seem like a perfect way to spend a day of relaxation. I’ve been one of those lucky ones to escape on a winter vacation where the white of the landscape was sand rather than the snow that was left behind. What a treat! Years ago, I remember being told by a more seasoned traveler that to protect my pale, northern skin I should try to get a bit of a base tan before leaving for my sunny destination. It would make tanning so much easier once I arrived and hopefully I could forego the burn-tan cycle that so often happens to impatient tourists. At that time, I felt so fortunate to learn about the availability of a new piece of equipment called the tanning bed!
Fast-forward 30 years and of course, we now know the significant damage that is caused when using tanning beds. The intensity of the ultraviolet light is equivalent to 12 times what the sun emits and increased exposure to ultraviolet rays directly increases the chance of the development of skin cancer during our lifetime. Tanning beds aren’t the only culprits, however. Frequent sunburns and prolonged sun exposure of unprotected skin are also risk factors for melanoma but thankfully, they are also avoidable. But according to the American Cancer Society we continue to have 76,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed every year.
Skin Cancer will be the focus of the upcoming online Mayo Clinic Cancer Breakthrough Town Hall Series February 17th, 2021. Please join us to hear a panel of medical professionals and skin cancer survivors discuss a variety of significant topics related to skin cancer and also share helpful resources. To learn more and register for this webinar, please click here.