Staying Safe in the Sun
The summer months are full of temptations luring us into the sun’s rays. However, with the incidence of skin cancer on the rise, it’s increasingly important to stay safe while enjoying outdoor activities. The good news is that people are now more aware of monitoring their skin and the need to see their doctor if they notice changes. Because of this, many skin cancers are detected earlier when treatment is more effective.
In honor of July being the National Awareness Month for UV Safety, below are some recommendations for helping to increase awareness of skin cancer risk as well as to prevent overexposure.
- Understand your personal risk factors — such as fair skin, excess sun exposure, family history of skin cancer, weakened immune system and any precancerous skin conditions.
- Begin protecting your skin with sunscreen (SPF 30 or above) and protective clothing (don't forget a hat and sunglasses) — it's not too late to make a difference.
- Make changes in your outdoor activities — seek out the shade; take a walk in the evening; sit under the umbrella by the pool, avoid being out in the sun during key daylight hours when the sun is the most intense (10am-4pm), be sure to cover-up and protect your skin.
- Schedule a baseline skin examination with a dermatologist and make a plan for how often you should return for skin examinations by a trained professional.
- Track and report any changes in your skin — be on the lookout for moles that change, new moles or skin discolorations, any bleeding, irregular borders or scaling.
- Skin cancer can occur in places that are not regularly exposed to the sun — check between toes, the soles of your feet and in the genital area.
Are you a skin cancer survivor? Please share your story with others to increase awareness of the dangers of excess sun exposure.