This month is dedicated to increasing public awareness of the importance of skin cancer prevention, early detection and treatment. There are more than one million skin cancers diagnosed each year in the U.S. That’s more than all other cancers combined. Each hour one person dies from melanoma.
Melanoma is the most common form of cancer in young adults 25-29 and, the second most common for young people 15-29. Between 1992 and 2004, melanoma incidence increased 45%. One or more blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life. Indoor UV (ultraviolet) tanners are 74% more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors. So remember to see your dermatologist for a complete body check. Remind your family and friends to do the same. Skin cancer is preventable AND, melanoma if caught early can be cured!
Celebrating Don’t Fry Day
To help reduce rising rates of skin cancer from overexposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun, the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day” to encourage sun safety awareness and to remind everyone to protect their skin while enjoying the outdoors. Because no single step can fully protect you and your family from overexposure to UV radiation, follow as many of the following tips as possible:
- Do Not Burn or Tan
- Seek Shade
- Wear Sun-Protective Clothing
- Generously Apply Sunscreen
- Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow, and Sand
- Get Vitamin D Safely
As warm weather approaches and millions of Americans prepare to enjoy the great outdoors, the risk for ultraviolet (UV) damage of the skin increases. Skin cancer is on the rise in the United States, and the American Cancer Society estimates that one American dies every hour from skin cancer. This year alone, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be more than 76,250 new cases of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, and more than two million new cases of basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers in the U.S.
Fortunately, skin cancer is highly curable if found early and can be prevented. Remember to Slip! Slop! Slap!…and Wrap when you’re outdoors — slip on a shirt, slop on broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, slap on a wide-brimmed hat, and wrap on sunglasses. The best way to detect skin cancer early is to examine your skin regularly and recognize changes in moles and skin growths.
Most skin cancers are caused by overexposure to UV radiation. Individuals with lighter-toned skin are more susceptible to UV damage, although people of all races and ethnicities can be at risk for skin cancer. Those who have a family history of skin cancer, plenty of moles or freckles, or a history of severe sunburns early in life are at a higher risk of skin cancer as well. To minimize the harmful effects of excessive and unprotected sun exposure, protection from intense UV radiation should be a life-long practice for everyone.
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