As the warmer weather falls upon us, we see nothing but sunny days in the forecast. May is Skin Cancer Awareness month and rightfully so as it brings temperatures fit for backyard barbecues and blazing beach days. Although it’s understandable that we impatiently wait to have fun in the sun, it’s important to remember that there are major risks associated with overexposure to UV rays.
Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the United States alone. According to the Cancer Treatment Centers Of America, there are more than 5 million skin cancer diagnosis each year and rising. On average, one in every five people will develop some form of skin disease in their lifetime.
Skin cancer awareness is pivotal to our overall health. Not only is it important to be “skin-conscious” for the warm, sunny seasons but, rather, all year round. Many individuals are under the assumption that the cooler months are not a cause for concern and, oftentimes, forego applying SPF. However, any exposure to the sun, especially over an extended period of time, can be harmful to the skin.
Although skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer, it is important to note that it is not only treatable when detected early on, but is also the most preventable disease in both men and women. Areas of the body that are most frequently in the sun are the head, neck, face, ears, lips, hands and scalp. Additionally, we tend to expose more areas of our body to the sun during the summertime, i.e. the back, shoulders, stomach, chest, and legs.
Preventative MethodsWe believe that the best way to celebrate skin cancer awareness month is by sharing a few tips to help you protect your skin from harmful UV rays, artificial or not:
- avoid tanning salons
- generously apply a water-resistant SPF 30 or higher (don’t neglect the ears and hairline)
- reapply every two hours (especially after swimming or sweating)
- find yourself some shade, especially between the hours of 10:00 AM-3:00 PM
- cover up with comfortable, breathable clothing
- apply SPF lip balm to the lips
- always wear sunglasses to protect your eyes
- frequently check body markings like moles and beauty marks to ensure no changes
- it’s advised to be extra cautious around water, sand and even snow as the reflective rays can be damaging and cause sunburn
By following and sharing these few steps, you not only potentially protect yourself from this disease but can help bring awareness to the severity of skin cancer in all forms.
Throughout the entire month of May, we can all work collectively to shed light on the importance of proper skin protection. Also known as melanoma awareness month, it is a reminder to keep the conversation of safe sun exposure buzzing all year round. Skin cancer awareness is extremely vital to our overall health and while we coined May the official month to share and expand our knowledge, we can all work to ensure that we keep ourselves protected each and every day.