After the winter we just experienced, getting out in the sun is top of mind for many people. Even when the summer is not sweltering, the sun can still do damage.
The sun’s UV rays can cause changes in the skin that can lead to skin cancer – the most common form of cancer in the US. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, there are more new cases of skin cancer than all cancers of the breast, lung, colon and prostate combined. In fact, statistics show that 1 in 5 Americans can expect to develop skin cancer at some point in their lives.
Know the symptoms of skin cancer. Watch your skin for any unusual changes such as rough scaly growths or changes in the shape and color of moles.
Keep an eye for these things:
- Asymmetry – does the area on one half look different than the other half?
- Border – is the margin of the growth irregular or jagged?
- Color – does the growth have various shade of black, brown, white and even blue rather than one solid color?
- Diameter – is the growth larger than a pencil eraser?
Evolving – has the growth changed over time?
Keeping an eye on growths and your skin in general can help you catch a possible cancerous growth at its very early stages. We want you to enjoy your outdoor lifestyle and swimming pool but here’s a few warnings:
- Wear sunscreen: Liberally apply sunscreen to all exposed skin areas. Opinions vary but SPF30 should be adequate if the product protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Don’t forget to reapply frequently.
- Be wary of sunburn: A severe blistering sunburn, especially as a child, can put you at higher risk for skin cancer later in life. Protect yourself and head inside if you feel yourself staring to burn.
- Wear protective clothing: If you spend a good amount of time outdoors, consider wearing a hat, sunglasses and long sleeves.
- Embrace the shade: The hours of 10am – 2pm are when the sun’s rays are the most intense. Give yourself a break by sitting under an umbrella or awning while outside.
- Skip the tanning bed: The UV lights in tanning beds increase the risk for all forms of cancer – there is no such thing as a safe tanning bed.
- Get your Vitamin D carefully: About 15 minutes in the sun provides enough sun exposure to provide our bodies with the Vitamin D we need.
Enjoy the summer but protect yourself for a healthy and safe summer season.