One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. Skin cancer is a lifestyle disease and it can be prevented. May is national Skin Cancer Awareness Month; a time to become informed and learn the facts.
A large percentage of skin cancer cases are a result of the ultraviolet radiation from the sun. About 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers and about 65% of melanoma skin cancers are a direct result of UV radiation. Protecting yourself from the sun should be a priority in prevention.
Reducing your risk of skin cancer involves simple steps:
- · Seek shade
- · Avoid sunburns. Your risk of melanoma doubles if you have had 5 or more sunburns at any point in life.
- · Avoid tanning beds - UV radiation from tanning machines is known to cause cancer in humans, and the more time a person has spent tanning indoors, the higher the risk. Those who make just four visits to a tanning salon per year can increase their risk for melanoma by 11 percent, and their risk for the two most common forms of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, by 15 percent.
- · Cover Up!
- · Use sunscreen - UVA/UVB with an SPF of 15 or higher for every day. For extended activity use a water resistant SPF 30.
- · Examine Your Skin - To a head to toe self exam every month and have an annual exam by your physician each month. Download a printable body map to assist with keeping track of spots.