The summer months are upon us. The time is here for enjoying the beauty of the sun and sea. Don’t forget that this can also be a time of increased risk for skin cancer. Current statistics report 50 percent of Americans over age 65 will have skin cancer at least once. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun, sunlamps or tanning booths is the main cause of skin cancer. Most skin cancers appear after age 50, but the sun’s damaging effects start much earlier in life.
What can you do to protect yourself? The National Cancer Institute recommends avoiding exposure to the sun from 10am to 2 pm standard time. Wear protective clothing such as long sleeves and sun hats to block out the sun’s harmful rays. Always use sunscreen lotion with a sun protection factor (SPF) rated 30 or higher to block most of the harmful ultra violet rays.
It is important to note that the cure rate for skin cancer could be 100 percent if all skin cancers were brought to a doctor’s attention before they had time to spread. According to the American Academy of Dermatology you will improve your chances of finding skin cancer early if you check your skin frequently for changes in moles, freckles or age spots.
After a shower or bath check your skin in a well-lighted room using a full length and hand held mirror. Check all your skin, including back, scalp, buttocks, feet and toes.Become familiar with what is normal for you and report any changes to your physician.You are your own best advocate, check your skin often, report and y changes, use sunscreen and avoid peak sun periods.
Have fun in the sun but be safe!