Skin cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in the United States, with more than 5 million people being diagnosed annually. According to the American Cancer Society, about 80% of diagnosed skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma, almost 20% are squamous cell carcinoma, and only about 1% are melanoma.
It is therefore essential to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, which is the primary cause of the condition. With this in mind, here are seven key tips to help you prevent skin cancer this summer and throughout your lifetime:
Tip #1: Apply Sunscreen
While it is important to apply sunscreen before and during outdoor activities and beach trips, it is equally important to use sunscreen every day on the exposed areas of your skin. The sun can damage your skin simply while sitting beside a window in your house, in a building, or in a car.
Moreover, be sure to wear sunscreen even on cloudy days, because clouds don’t filter the UV rays. Reapply sunscreen to the exposed areas of your skin every two hours.
Tip #2: Wear a Hat and Sunglasses
It is advisable to wear wide-brimmed hats that shade your ears, neck, and face whenever you are outdoors or in sunny areas. It is also a good idea to wear sunglasses that provide 99% to 100% UV protection, as this accessory will protect your eyes while also preventing exposure to the delicate surrounding skin.
Tip #3: Avoid Tanning Beds
There is a myth that indoor and controlled tanning through tanning beds or sunlamps is safer than being exposed to the sun, but it is not safer. This can even be more dangerous than the sun, since it creates prolonged and intense exposure to UV radiation. It is better to opt for tanning sprays or creams, which do not damage the skin.
Tip #4: Wear Protective Clothing
If possible, always wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts when going outside, especially during the summer. The extra clothing will protect you from the sun’s rays and UV exposure.
Dark colors and tightly woven fabrics are more effective in blocking the sun as compared to loosely woven and white fabrics. You can also wear clothes made with sun-protective materials for additional protection against the sun: They are labeled with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) tag.
Tip #5: Stay in the Shade
Avoid sun exposure between 10 am to 4 pm, as the intensity of the sun is at its peak during these times. If you must be outdoors, seek shady areas to protect your skin.
Tip #6: Be Cautious of Medications
A number of medications make the skin more sensitive to the sun. Examples of these include anti-inflammatories, blood pressure medications, antibiotics, antifungals, and acne medications. If you are taking or being treated with one or more of these, limit your sun exposure to avoid skin cancer.
Tip #7: Carefully Examine Skin and Conduct Regular Screenings
Check your skin regularly, including moles and any new marks. Be aware of any blemishes that do not heal, and show any unusual skin lesions to your health practitioner. Early detection will help you prevent skin cancer in its early stages.
Skin Cancer Prevention in Kent, WA
If you are experiencing any skin problems, seek an evaluation by the healthcare practitioners at FamilyCare of Kent. Our professional and experienced nurse practitioners provide quality personalized healthcare for the whole family.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, call us today at (253) 859-2273 or request an appointment via our online form now. We look forward to serving you.