Time to think about sun: May is skin cancer prevention month

Summer is almost here and (hopefully) with it, that old “frenemy” – the sun.  It’s tough. Most people enjoy the feel of warm sun on their skin and the healthy-looking glow that comes with it. But – as we know – sun exposure and tanning aren’t healthy at all. They can be deadly.
According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, this cancer type is the most common in the country, with more than 2 million people diagnosed every year. It beats out breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer – combined – for new diagnoses. One in every five American will develop skin cancer over the course of their lifetime. Those are some worrisome numbers.
The Skin Cancer Foundation is an excellent source of information about all types of skin cancer and how to self-examine and detect cancerous moles and spots. It also offers a cool, interactive quizto help you assess your personal risk. And, for the ladies, there’s a whole section on the Go with Your Own Glow campaign, dedicated to encouraging women to love and protect their skin, whatever its natural hue. The site offers make-up, anti-aging and fashion tips and advice from experts, all committed to helping women feel beautiful and making tanning obsolete.
So, in honor of Skin Cancer Prevention month, here are some tips from the Mayo Clinic that can help you and your family decrease your skin cancer risk all year-round:
·         Avoid the sun during the middle of the day. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Schedule outdoor activities for other times of day and remember that you absorb UV radiation year-round, and even when it’s cloudy.
·         Wear sunscreen year-round. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Remember to put it on your lips, tips of your ears and on the backs of your hands and neck.
·         Wear protective clothing. Cover yourself in dark, tightly-woven clothing that protects your arms and legs, and wear a broad-brimmed hat.
·         Avoid tanning beds. They also emit UV rays and increase your chance of cancer.
·         Be aware of medications that make you more sensitive to sun. Some common prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs, including antibiotics, can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.
·         Check your skin regularly and report changes to your doctor. Examine your skin often for new skin growths, or changes in existing moles, freckles, bumps and birthmarks.
Follow these suggestions and stay safe this summer, as we all enjoy the good weather hopefully to come!
                 –  Jen Andruzzi
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