Unfortunately, skin cancer is the most common cancer. In the United States alone, there are over 5 million skin cancer cases diagnosed a year. 5 million is a scary number. On a good note, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer. Skin Cancer Awareness month was created to raise awareness about skin cancer and to therefore help prevent it. In May, the sun gets much stronger and the bathing suits start to come out. We are taking this opportunity to share some basic information about skin cancer to prevent our readers from making the wrong choices this summer. '
What is skin cancer?
Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. This happens when DNA damage to skin cells, that is unrepaired, triggers mutations or genetic defects that lead to the skin cells multiplying rapidly and forming malignant tumors. DNA damage to skin cells is caused by ultraviolet radiation which comes from the sun or even from tanning beds. There are six different types of skin cancer and pre-cancers: Actinic Keratosis, Atypical Moles, Basal Cell Carcinoma, Melanoma, Merkel Cell Carcinoma, and Squamous Cell Carcinoma. One person dies of Melanoma every hour. It is the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
How can it be prevented?
Wearing sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher is recommended when in the sun, but this common practice is not going to cut it. In order to prevent skin cancer more action is required. It is very important to stay in the shade between 10 AM and 4 PM and avoid tanning from the sun and especially tanning beds. If out in the sun, the number one way to stay protected is to cover up. Wear a hat, clothing that covers your skin, and UV-blocking sunglasses. Make it a habit to check your skin from head to toe once a month and to have a yearly full body skin exam by your dermatologist.
Friday, May 25th, is the Friday before Memorial Day which means it is “Don’t Fry Day.” The National Council of Skin Protection created this day to encourage everyone to protect their skin that day and everyday.
It’s May! This is your opportunity to start making healthy choices for your skin!